KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 20 — Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak rejected all criminal charges filed against him today for money laundering and power abuse over his receipt, use and transfer of nearly RM2.3 billion allegedly from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
He claimed trial in the Sessions Court here to 21 counts of money laundering and a separate four counts of power abuse; Najib maintains the sum was a donation from an Arab royal in 2013.
The charges were read out to him earlier this afternoon before Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi.
Najib was charged with four counts of power abuse committed during the period from February 24, 2011 to December 19, 2014, with the amount linked to these offences totalling RM2,282,937,678.41.
The charges were made under Section 23 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 and are punishable by up to 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of at least five times the sum involved, upon conviction.
As for the money-laundering offences that Najib was charged with today, he was accused of receiving a total of RM2,081,476,926 in illicit funds through nine transactions.
He was also charged with seven counts of transferring a total of RM2,196,786,711.87 in illegal funds, while the remaining five counts of the 21 money-laundering offences were over his alleged use of RM22,649,000 of illegal funds.
The money-laundering offences were alleged to have been committed during the period from March 22, 2013 and August 30, 2013.
The money-laundering charges were brought under Section 4(1) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2002 (AMLATFPUAA).
The offence is punishable by a maximum 15-year jail term, and a fine of RM5 million or a minimum five times the value of the unlawful proceeds at the time the offence was committed, depending on whichever is higher.
Najib’s lead defence counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah today highlighted to reporters that the charges showed Najib transferring the bulk of the money back to the same account from which it had been received, insisting that his client had believed it to be from the Saudi royal family.
The police and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) publicised the intended charges against Najib prior to him being brought to court today.
Today’s charges are the latest on top of Najib’s other existing charges over a sum of RM42 million belonging to 1MDB’s former subsidiary SRC International Sdn Bhd.
Previously, on July 4, Najib was charged and claimed trial to three counts of criminal breach of trust and another charge of power abuse over RM42 million of funds.
On August 8, Najib was charged with three counts of money-laundering over the same RM42 million amount.