1MDB: former Malaysian PM sentenced to 12 years in prison

Najib Razak found guilty on all counts

Najib Razak, the former Prime Minister of Malaysia, has been found guilty on all seven counts for his involvement in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal and sentenced to 12 years in prison.

The sentencing comes only days after Goldman Sachs agreed to pay a $4bn (£3bn, €3.4bn) settlement to the Malaysian government for its involvement in the wrongdoing. This payment related to three bond transactions the firm had structured and arranged for 1MDB, the nation’s besmirched sovereign fund.

Only created after Najib assumed power in 2009, 1MDB hoped to promote “market-driven initiatives to assist the government in propelling Malaysia towards becoming a developed nation that is highly competitive, sustainable and inclusive”.

Following investigative reporting led by the Wall Street Journal, Najib, who belongs to one of Malaysia’s most powerful families, faced increasing accusations of using 1MDB as a personal piggybank.  

Razak, who left office in May 2018 following significant public outrage and a coordinated reform campaign, will leave prison at the age of 80, should he serve his full sentence.

High Court Judge Nazlan Mohammed Ghazali found the former leader guilty of charges ranging from money laundering, abuse of power and criminal breach of trust.

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While the 1MDB scandal has rolled on for several years, the latest trial related to the sum of $10m that was deposited into Razak’s personal bank account via 1MDB.

Razak is widely expected to appeal the verdict. Before the trial’s conclusion, the former PM stated: “No matter what the decision is tomorrow in the High Court, it doesn’t end here. I don’t give up.”

Najib and 1MDB’s key financier Jho Low still remains an international fugitive, despite having already paid a $700m settlement with the US Department of Justice.

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