Ex-Malaysian PM Najib Charged With Graft

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has been charged with four counts of corruption for embezzling public money from Malaysia’s 1MDB fund.

In court on Wednesday in the Malaysian capital, Najib was charged with three counts of criminal breach of trust and one charge of abuse of power, just weeks after voters ousted him from power in large part due to long-standing corruption allegations, CNN reported.

He was arrested Tuesday by a special task force at his home in Kuala Lumpur, according to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, which has been investigating billions of state funds that went missing while Najib was in power.

Any corruption related offense carries a general penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a minimum fine of five times the value of any bribe, according to the MACC. Najib could also face lashes with a whip.

Najib pleaded not guilty and was expected to be released on $250,000 bail. He is due to appear in court for case management on August 8.

As he was leaving the courthouse, Najib told reporters he believed that his trial was politically motivated by the new government, but added it was “my best opportunity to clear my name.”

“If this is the price I have to pay for the 24 years of service to the nation and people, then I am willing to pay that price,” he said.

Last week police said they had seized $225 million in luxury handbags, jewelry, cash and goods from six properties linked to the former leader.

The goods were seized as part of the investigation into the sprawling scandal related to 1MDB, a state investment vehicle from which Najib and others are accused of siphoning off billions of dollars.

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