KUALA LUMPUR: Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak was arrested on Tuesday afternoon (Jul 3) in relation to the probe into SRC International, a former unit of state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
He will be charged in court on Wednesday at 8.30am, the 1MDB task force investigating the scandal said in a statement, adding that Najib was arrested at his private residence in Kuala Lumpur.
Anti-corruption officers arrived at his house "in three to four unmarked cars", a senior security official familiar with the arrest told AFP.
He was then taken to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) headquarters in Putrajaya where he will spend the night in lock-up.
Quoting a source, the Bernama news agency said Najib is expected to face more than 10 counts of committing criminal breach of trust linked to SRC International.
The report said that Najib will be charged at a Kuala Lumpur court and that the new Attorney-General Tommy Thomas will lead the prosecution team.
A court source told Bernama that Najib will be charged at the Criminal Sessions Court 2 located at Level 4 on the right wing of the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex.
The source added that the case will be mentioned before the most senior of the Sessions Court judges, Zainal Abidin Kamarudin, and then transferred to the Criminal High Court 1 before Justice Azman Abdullah.
MACC's investigation into Najib's involvement is focused on how RM42 million (US$10.6 million) went from SRC International into his bank account. He was summoned to the MACC headquarters in May to explain the suspicious transfer.
SRC International was created in 2011 by Najib's government to pursue overseas investments in energy resources, and was a unit of 1MDB until it was moved to the finance ministry in 2012.
Former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said he "respects the rule of law" when asked about the arrest of Najib.
"Some evidence or witnesses have to appear to clear the image and perceptions of public, because now the judgment, court of the public has played a very important role in creating negative perception," he said at the MACC headquarters as he left after giving statements to investigators for a second day.
Veteran legislator Lim Kit Siang, whose party is a member of the current ruling coalition, said Najib's arrest had been expected.
"Najib has to answer the allegations. It is long delayed as the scandal has turned Malaysia into a global kleptocracy country," he told AFP.
But a spokesman for Najib claimed the arrest was politically motivated and a result of "political vengeance" by ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition.
"Th arrest of Dato Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak by MACC today was to be expected as since taking over the Government, Pakatan Harapan leadership has 'delivered the guilty verdict' against the former premier in public," the spokesman said in a statement.
"The SRC charges against Dato Sri Mohd Najib tomorrow as well as the on-going 1MDB and AMLA investigations against Dato Sri Mohd Najib are politically motivated and the result of political vengeance by the PH leadership under Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
"Dato Sri Mohd Najib will contest these charges and clear his name in court."
"Spokesman" for Najib says: "SRC charges against Dato Sri Mohd Najib tomorrow as well the on-going 1MDB and AMLA investigations against Dato Sri Mohd Najib are politically motivated and the result of political vengeance by the PH leadership under Dr Mahathir Mohamad." pic.twitter.com/H3CNyGwEX4— Sumisha Naidu (@SumishaCNA) July 3, 2018
1MDB, founded by Najib in 2009, is being investigated in at least six countries for alleged money laundering and graft.
Civil lawsuits filed by the US Department of Justice allege that nearly US$4.5 billion from 1MDB was laundered through a complex web of transactions and shell companies.
In Malaysia, the probe into the scandal moved swiftly after the Pakatan Harapan coalition, led by Mahathir Mohamad, won the May 9 general election.
Both Najib and the fund have denied any wrongdoing.
In addition to separately questioning Najib and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, authorities have also taken a statement from Najib's stepson, Riza Aziz, whose firm produced the hit 2013 movie, The Wolf of Wall Street.
On Monday, the 1MDB special task force announced that more than 400 bank accounts involving RM1.1 billion of funds from individuals, political parties and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were frozen in relation to the probe.