KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has been charged for corruption and criminal breach of trust in a case linked to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.
Najib, 64, was charged with misusing his position as a government official to receive a RM42mil bribe as inducement to provide a sovereign guarantee on behalf of the Malaysian Government for a loan of RM4bil from the pension fund Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (KWAP) to SRC International Sdn Bhd.
He also faces three other charges of criminal breach of trust (CBT) in his capacity as Prime Minister, Finance Minister and Advisor Emeritus of SRC International, in which he was entrusted with the RM4bil.
The charges of corruption and CBT were read out to Najib in a packed courtroom in Kuala Lumpur before Sessions Court judge Datuk Zainal Abidin Kamarudin.
SRC International was a subsidiary of 1MDB, and was placed under the jurisdiction of the Finance Ministry in 2012.
The first offence of bribery under Section 23 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act, is punishable by up to 20 years' prison and a fine equal to five times the bribe amount.
The other charges under Section 409 of the Penal Code (CBT by public servant) are punishable by up to 20 years prison, whipping and a fine.
He is alleged to have misappropriated funds through various banks in Malaysia on three occasions between Dec 24, 2014 and March 2, 2015; amounting to RM27mil, RM10mil and RM5mil.
Attorney-General Tommy Thomas, who is leading the 12-person prosecution team, requested that the case be conducted in English.
He applied to have the case transferred to the High Court, where Najib's plea would be taken, and in the event Najib pleads not guilty, the trial will be heard.
Though no plea was recorded, Najib nodded to show he understood. He appeared grim, with his jaw drawn tight.
He was arrested by the MACC, at his private home in Jalan Langgak Duta at 2.35pm, yesterday.
He was led to the dock in the Sessions Court here at 9am, dressed in a blue suit and white shirt.
He was not wearing the orange MACC lock-up uniform as he has been charged and not remanded. Bail proceedings are ongoing.
Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah is leading Najib's defence team, while lawyer Datuk K Kumaraendran has applied to do a watching brief on behalf of Najib's wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.
Sessions Court judge Zainal Abidin Kamarudin allowed the case to be transferred to the High Court
On May 22, MACC chief commissioner Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull said their 2015 probe against Najib involved funds of RM2.6 billion and RM42 million that were believed to have been transferred from SRC International to the his personal bank accounts.
In 2016, then-AG Tan Sri Apandi Ali cleared Najib of wrongdoing, saying he had found Najib committed no wrongdoing over the RM42 million deposited by SRC International into Najib’s bank account.