Saturday, October 31, 2020

Malaysia’s ex-PM Najib Razak to face 1MDB audit charges

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A Malaysian court rejected former premier Najib Razak’s bid to drop charges related to an audit report of troubled state fund 1MDB after prosecutors made amendments to the accusations.

The bid is “premature” and should only be considered at the end of the trial’s prosecution stage, the judge said on Friday. This means Najib may make another bid to dismiss the charges.

Prosecutors had changed the wording in Najib’s charge sheet to say that he along with former 1MDB President Arul Kanda were involved in tampering with an audit report “finalized” by the Auditor General before it was “finalized again” and presented to the parliament’s Public Accounts Committee. Najib responded by applying to strike out the allegations, with his lawyer arguing that a finalized report by definition can’t be revised.

The case is one of many that Najib faces for his alleged role in 1MDB, the Malaysian state fund that’s at the center of global investigations into corruption and money laundering. He has been sentenced to 12 years imprisonment and 210 million ringgit ($50 million) fine in an earlier case involving a former unit of 1MDB.

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