Malaysia ex-PM Najib to serve jail term 

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Malaysia’s top court on Tuesday upheld a 12-year jail sentence against former Prime Minister Najib Razak.
The Federal Court rejected Najib’s bid to overturn his charges of criminal breach of trust, money laundering and abuse of power, which were linked to a multi-million dollar corruption scandal, the BBC reported.
In his final push for freedom, Najib’s lawyer requested the removal of Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat from the panel presiding over the case – in what was seen as a bid to forestall a final verdict.
They claimed Mat could be biased as her husband had made a Facebook post in 2018 which was critical of Najib. However, the chief justice declined the request as she said the post was before the charges were brought against Najib.
Najib was convicted in July 2020, but was out on bail while he appealed. The top court also denied Najib’s request to delay his sentence. The 69-year-old’s charges are related to a scandal involving state-owned wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
In her verdict, the chief justice said the five-judge panel unanimously found that the conviction of Najib on all seven counts was safe and the appeal “devoid of any merits”.
“The defence is so inherently inconsistent and incredible that it has not raised reasonable doubt on the case,” the BBC reported quoted Mat as saying.
The charges addressed on Tuesday make up only the the first of five trials relating to 1MDB case.
Najib’s wife, Rosmah Mansor, also faces money-laundering and tax evasion charges, to which she has pleaded not guilty. The High Court is scheduled to deliver her verdict on September 1.
In 2020, a court had found him guilty on seven counts – centered around a total of 42 million ringgit which was transferred from SRC International – a former unit of 1MDB – into his private accounts.
He was sentenced to 12 years’ jail and a fine of 210 million ringgit.
The defence team had argued Najib was led to believe the funds in his accounts were donated by the Saudi royal family rather than misappropriated from the state fund.
They also claimed he was misled by financial advisers, particularly fugitive financier Jho Low – who has been charged in both the US and Malaysia but also maintains his innocence, the BBC said.
Najib has continued to deny any wrongdoing.

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