Ex-Malaysian PM to appeal corruption sentence

Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Najib Razak will return to a court on Monday in a first attempt to overturn his corruption conviction last year.

Najib was sentenced to 12 years in jail on July 28, 2020, at the end of the first of five trials related to large-scale graft during his nine years as premier, which ended in a shock defeat in the 2018 elections fought in part over the scandals, reports dpa news agency.

He was found guilty of money laundering, abuse of office and breach of trust after almost ten million dollars were allegedly stolen from SRC International, a subsidiary of 1MDB, a state fund set up by Najib.

Up to $4.5 billion could have been looted from 1MDB, according to the US Department of Justice, which has repatriated hundreds of millions of dollars to Malaysia after recovering assets, including Picasso artwork and a luxury yacht, it said were purchased with money stolen from the fund.

One of Najib’s other ongoing trials centres on allegations he stole hundreds of millions of dollars from the fund, money he has claimed was a donation from Saudi Arabia.

Twelve days of appeal hearings are scheduled for this month, with Najib submitting 307 grounds for appeal of the sentence, which included a fine of 210 million ringgit ($50 million).

Najib is free on bail, pending the appeal, and remains an MP for the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the biggest party in the governing coalition led by incumbent Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.