Malaysia’s ex-PM Najib Razak arrested by anti-corruption officers


Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has been arrested by anti-corruption officers and may be charged on Wednesday, reported Channel News Asia, citing his family’s lawyer as saying on Tuesday.

Razak was arrested at his home, according to the media report.

Razak is under investigation over allegations that he looted state funds while in office – accusations he has denied.

Najib Razak during a campaign event in Kuala Lumpur on May 1, 2018. /VCG Photo

Najib’s lawyers said he could be charged tomorrow.

Since Najib’s defeat in the May 9 general election of Malaysia, the newly formed government headed by his one-time mentor Mahathir Mohamad has been investigating his involvement in the multibillion-dollar corruption scandal at the state fund 1MDB.

Najib said if the BNM had some doubts about the source of the funds then, he expected them to inform him.

Media and public gather outside the Skypark terminal at Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah airport in Subang outside Kuala Lumpur on May 12, 2018, after reports had circulated on social media that Najib Razak and his wife were due to board a private jet and fly to Indonesia. /VCG Photo

He claimed that the funds were donated by a member of the Saudi royal family, and that he returned most of the money.

After the 14th Malaysian general election on May 9, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad announced that a special task force would be in charge of investigations into the 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal and the involvement of former Prime Minister Najib.

On 12 May 2018, a flight manifest stated that Najib and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, were taking a private jet with an itinerary towards Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport in Jakarta.

In response, the Immigration Department, upon the orders of Mahathir, imposed a travel ban on Najib and his wife, barring their exit from the country, according to Reuters’ report on May 12.

Najib Razak’s stepson Riza Aziz arrives to give a statement at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission headquarters in Putrajaya, outside Kuala Lumpur on July 3, 2018. /VCG Photo

Riza Aziz, the stepson of former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak appeared at the anti-graft agency headquarters on Tuesday afternoon to have his statement recorded.

Sources at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) said Riza Aziz is expected to, among other things, address allegations that funds misappropriated from 1MDB were used to finance several Hollywood movies.

Riza is co-founder of Hollywood film production company, Red Granite Pictures, which produced “The Wolf of Wall Street”, among other movies.

In the United States, his production company had reached a 60 million US dollars settlement in a suit that alleged the movie was funded by money siphoned from 1MDB, according to The Strait Times.

Former Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) Governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz on Tuesday declined comment when asked if she knew about the 2.6 billion Malaysia Ringgit deposited in the bank account of former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, also reported by The Strait Times.

News portal Malaysiakini reported that Najib claimed that Dr Zeti was aware of the funds in his bank account prior to the 13th General Election on May 5, 2013, but did not raise questions about it.

More discoveries of Najib’s arrest could help investigators around the world piece together how billions may have been embezzled and laundered through major financial centers in the US, Europe and Asia.

The US said more than 4.5 billion US dollars flowed from the fund, through a complex web of opaque transactions and fraudulent shell companies, to finance spending sprees by corrupt officials and their associates, reported in a Bloomberg article appeared in June.