PUTRAJAYA, July 3 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak has been arrested.
Officials from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) confirmed the arrest was made today at the former prime minister’s house on Jalan Langgak Duta in Kuala Lumpur today.
He is being brought to the MACC headquarters here where he will be remanded for one night before being taken to the High Court in Kuala Lumpur at 8.30am tomorrow for prosecution.
The Pekan MP, who resigned as Umno president and Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman after the coalition’s defeat in the May 9 general election, is under investigation for suspected criminal wrongdoing in his brainchild 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), founded in 2009 as a sovereign vehicle to attract foreign investment into the country.
UK daily The Guardian dubbed 1MDB the “world’s biggest financial scandal”. US-based Wall Street Journal (WSJ) estimates at least US$3.5 billion (RM14.1 billion) to have been misappropriated from the Malaysian sovereign investment fund.
The MACC first questioned Najib on May 22 in relation to SRC International Sdn Bhd, which was a former subsidiary of 1MDB.
Anti-graft investigators have raided six properties in the Klang Valley linked to Najib including the 64-year-old’s Taman Duta mansion, three upscale condominium units at Pavilion Residences and one government quarters in Putrajaya that was described by police as a “safe house”.
Suitcases of cash in several currencies, hundreds of boxes of luxury handbags, including those from French fashion house Hermes, dozens of watches, sunglasses and other jewellery were seized during the raids.
Last Wednesday, police announced expert appraisals of the seized goods at RM1.1 billion, though some items such as the custom-handbags by haute couture label Bijan are still being evaluated.
Investigators have widened their dragnet to include Umno leaders and Najib’s family, including his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, whom the WSJ had in a recent article reported to be the real brains behind the 1MDB case.
The MACC called up former Umno MP Tan Sri Shahrir Samad and Najib’s stepson and Hollywood-based film producer Riza Aziz whose Red Granite Pictures was behind the 2013 Oscar-nominated Wolf of Wall Street, for questioning today.
Najib’s arrest today and expected charge tomorrow takes place just under two months after the shock defeat of the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition in the 14th general election on May 9 and almost three years to the day the Wall Street Journal broke the 1MDB story.