Malaysia’s former prime minister Najib Razak was found guilty of corruption and sentenced on Tuesday to 12 years in jail over the multibillion-dollar looting of the 1MDB state investment fund.
Najib was sentenced to 12 years in jail on one count of abuse of power, 10 years each for 3 counts of criminal breach of trust, and 10 years each for 3 counts of money laundering, as well as a fine of $49.4 million. However, he will face up to 12 years in jail, as the sentences will run concurrently.
Najib’s party is the biggest bloc in the current Malay nationalist alliance, which was formed in March after a political coup by current PM Muhyiddin Yassin’s party toppled the former government.
Shortly after taking office in 2009, Najib set up 1MDB to accelerate the country’s economic development, but the fund accumulated billions in debt.
US investigators allege that at least $6.3 billion was stolen from it and laundered by Najib’s associates to finance Hollywood films and buy hotels and luxury items. More than $980 million from the fund allegedly landed in Najib’s bank accounts.
Najib has said he will appeal. He insists that he was misled by rogue bankers and that the case against him is political.