Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was accused on Tuesday of coming up with a “cock and bull story” to try to overturn his 12-year jail sentence for corruption and abuse of office.
Prosecutor V Sithambaram told Malaysia’s Court of Appeal that Najib’s claim that his bank account was “manipulated” was “bizarre” and “a trick”, reports dpa news agency.
Sithambaram said Najib’s story was undermined by text messages between the appellant and Low Taek Jho, a fugitive “financier” better known as Jho Low.
Najib was sentenced to 12 years in jail in 2020 on charges related to the theft of 42 million ringgit ($9 million) from SRC International, a subsidiary of the 1MDB state fund set up by Najib.
Up to $4 billion dollars could have been stolen from 1MDB, according to the US Department of Justice, which has returned hundreds of millions of dollars to Malaysia after seizing assets bought using 1MDB money, including by Jho Low.
Najib’s four other 1MDB trials are ongoing, including one in which he is accused of pocketing around $700 million in public money – largesse he maintains was a donation from Saudi Arabia that he mostly repaid.
The former premier, who led Malaysia’s government for almost a decade, remains a member of parliament for the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the biggest party in the governing coalition headed by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.
Najib remains free on bail, pending the appeal, which started on April 5.