Malaysia court rejects ex-PM Najib's bid to quash seven charges in corruption trial

Malaysia court rejects ex-PM Najib's bid to quash seven charges in corruption trial

Former Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak arrives at Kuala Lumpur High Court in Kuala Lumpur
Former Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak arrives at Kuala Lumpur High Court in Kuala Lumpur on April 3, 2019. (Photo: Reuters/Lai Seng Sin)

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court on Monday (Apr 29) dismissed former prime minister Najib Razak's application to strike out seven charges in relation to his corruption trial.

His legal team earlier filed a notice of motion seeking to quash the charges on grounds that they are an abuse of the court process and defective in form and substance.

On Monday, Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali said the defence’s argument that the charges were flawed was without basis.

He also said the offences levelled against Najib did not constitute double jeopardy as the offences were different. Any conviction could be secured if the prosecution proved each of the offences, the judge added.

"The prosecution has produced all the documents to the defence. At this stage, the trial has proceeded for nine days and 21 witnesses have been called with extensive cross-examination, with the applications for documents from witnesses that were allowed by this court," he said.

"It is difficult to comprehend that the accused could have been misled."

READ: 1MDB - Malaysia's extraordinary financial scandal

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The judge also said that money laundering, criminal breach of trust (CBT) and abuse of power were different offences and there was no duplicity.

"So, this application is dismissed," he said.

What is Malaysia's 1MDB scandal?
Factfile on the Malaysian 1MDB corruption allegations and charges faced by Malaysia's former leader Najib Razak. (Image: AFP/Laurence Chu, John Saeki)

The ex-prime minister and those linked to him are accused of stealing billions of dollars from state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and spending the money on everything from high-end real estate to artworks and a luxury yacht.

The highly-anticipated trial began on Apr 3, with Najib denying seven charges related to the theft of RM42 million (US$10.3 million) from SRC International, a former 1MDB unit.

His defence team has maintained that the money laundering charges were unclear as they did not implicate the principal offence.

His lawyers also contended that the prosecution had failed to specify the five possible types of CBT that Najib had allegedly committed.

The RM42 million is just a fraction of the money Najib is alleged to have stolen. Najib has consistently denied any wrongdoing over the looting of 1MDB.

The trial is scheduled from 9am until 3.30pm during Ramadan, which will start next week.

The judge also said that within that period, the court would have a half-hour break for non-Muslims to have lunch.

Source: Bernama/aw(tx)

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