Malaysia’s ex-PM Najib charged with more corruption counts

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Najib in July pleaded not guilty to abuse of power and three counts of criminal breach of trust, just two months after the scandal led to his stunning election defeat.

Malaysia's new government is probing allegations that billions of dollars were looted from 1MDB, which was set up and overseen by Najib, in an audacious fraud that spanned the globe.

Public anger led to the defeat of Najib's long-ruling coalition in May's vote, ushering in the first change of power since the country gained independence from Britain in 1957.

Najib stood calmly in the dock Wednesday as the charges were read to him.

Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak arrives in court in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia August 8, 2018. Trial dates will be fixed on Friday, the judge said.

All three charges were under Section 4 (1)(b) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 punishable under Section 4 (1) of the same Act which carries a maximum jail term of 15 years and fine of not less than five times the sum of the unlawful activity's proceeds or RM5 million whichever is higher, if convicted.

The money-laundering charges allege 42 million ringgit stemming from illegal activities was transferred to Najib's bank accounts between December 2014 and February 2015.

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SRC International was a subsidiary of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

His is accused of having received 42m ringgit ($10m; £8m) from state fund 1MDB in his personal bank account.

Lawsuits filed in USA courts by the Department of Justice allege that an estimated $4.5bn was misappropriated from 1MDB by high-level officials of the fund and their associates.

Investigations into 1MDB have been moving swiftly.

He appeared at the MACC office in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday after he was summoned by the anti-graft agency.

The 300-foot (90-meter) Equanimity, kitted out with a pool and helicopter landing pad, was allegedly bought by playboy financier Jho Low, a friend of Najib's family who was said to exert great influence over 1MDB.

The new government reopened investigations into 1MDB that were stifled under Najib and barred him and his wife from leaving the country.

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