Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Malaysia’s ex-PM Najib Razak money laundering trial on hold to let him join political campaigns

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The 1MDB trial for Malaysia’s former leader Najib Razak has been put on hold, allowing him to join the political campaign at an upcoming by-election and deliver a speech when parliament sits.

The judge agreed to continue the proceedings on July 17, after Najib’s lawyer submitted a request to vacate the trial on Thursday due to a foreign ministry meeting he had to attend.

The lawyer then requested a later resumption to let Najib join the Chini state seat by-election campaign this week and attend a parliament session set to begin July 13.

The trial revolves around corruption and money-laundering charges involving US$681 million that appeared in Najib’s personal bank accounts.

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The accusations are linked to his role in 1MDB, the Malaysian state fund that’s at the centre of global investigations.

Najib was ousted as prime minister in the 2018 election that saw Malaysians rallying against the 1MDB scandal and high costs of living. That led to the country’s first change of government since its independence and a crackdown against those involved in the troubled state fund.

Following political turmoil in February, Najib’s party has since returned to the ruling administration, spurring concern over the ongoing 1MDB trials and investigations.

Current Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has pledged to continue fighting corruption, even as his government faced a backlash for agreeing to a settlement with Najib’s stepson in a separate case involving 1MDB funds.

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