A Malaysian court on Monday began hearing an appeal by ex-Prime Minister Najib Razak to overturn his conviction and 12-year jail sentence linked to the massive looting of the 1MDB state investment fund that brought down his government in 2018.
The appeal came more than eight months after a high court found Najib guilty of abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money laundering, making him the first Malaysian leader to be convicted. He has said he was misled by rogue bankers and that the case against him is political.
The ruling was part of the first of several corruption trials against Najib that are linked to the 1MDB scandal, which sparked investigations in the U.S. and several other countries. U.S. investigators alleged that over $4.5 billion was stolen from 1MDB and laundered by Najib’s associates.
Najib, 67, arrived at the Court of Appeal early Monday but didn’t speak to reporters. Najib, who set up 1MDB shortly after taking office in 2009, has denied all wrongdoing and his sentence stayed pending the appeal.
Defense lawyers say Najib has been denied a fair trial. One of his lawyers, Farhan Read, told The Associated Press that the high court judge made “serious misdirections” in the trial.
(Photo: AP Photo/Vincent Thian)