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Former Malaysian PM sentenced to 12 years in jail for corruption

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was sentenced to 12 years in jail last week, after a Malaysia High Court found him guilty on all seven counts in the first of many multi-million-dollar corruption trials.

The case was centred around his involvement in the 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) – a sovereign wealth fund set up in 2009 when Najib Razak was prime minister. Razak, who was in office from 2009 to 2018, pleaded not guilty to the charges of criminal breach of trust, money laundering and abuse of power.

The investigations into Razak’s role in 1MDB was started by his successor government following his election defeat in 2018. 1MDB was built with state earnings, such as revenues from oil resources and exports to boost Malaysia’s economic development.  In 2015, questions were raised around 1MDB’s activities after it missed payments owed to banks and bondholders. The verdicts were centred on the 42 million ringgit ($10m; £7.7m) transferred from the fund to Razak's private accounts. 

“The missing money has been linked to luxury real estate, a private jet, Van Gogh and Monet artworks - and even a Hollywood blockbuster, the Wolf of Wall Street. Last week, US bank Goldman Sachs reached a $3.9bn settlement with the Malaysian government for its role in the multi-billion-dollar corruption scheme,” said the BBC.

Najib denied all 21 counts of money-laundering and four abuse of power charges he is facing. His wife also denied the money-laundering and tax evasion charges she is facing.

The verdicts last Tuesday were the first but there was a separate trial that began last August that looked at the accusations that Razak “illicitly obtained 2.28bn ringgit ($550m, £448m) from 1MDB between 2011 and 2014.”

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