Judge Blasts Najib as 'National Embarrassment' as Court Upholds 1MDB Guilty Verdict




  • In US
  • 2021-12-08 03:18:54Z
  • By Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- A Malaysia court upheld former leader Najib Razak's guilty verdict from the first of a series of trials linked to troubled state fund 1MDB, with a judge referring to his actions as a "national embarrassment."

Most Read from Bloomberg

  • The World's Relentless Demand for Chips Turns Deadly in Malaysia

  • Sand and Soldiers Mix as Troops Move In to Protect Cancun Tourists

  • Even in the Metaverse, Not All Identities Are Created Equal

  • The $300 Billion Plan to Bring Green Power to China's Megacities

  • Meet the New Climate Refugee in Town: Coyotes

Najib failed to overturn his 12-year prison sentence after the Court of Appeal Wednesday affirmed he was guilty of all seven charges in the case involving 42 million ringgit ($10 million) of funds belonging to SRC International, a former unit of 1MDB. The court allowed his application for a stay of execution that would keep him out of jail while he appeals to Malaysia's highest court.

Najib's interest in SRC went beyond his public office, Judge Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil said in reading a 200-page judgement. "We are in full agreement that Najib knew that funds entering his personal accounts are proceeds from unlawful activities," he said, rejecting the former prime minister's claims his actions were taking in the national interest.

"This is not something that can be said to have been done in national interest, instead national embarrassment," Abdul Karim added.

The outcome is a setback for Najib, 68, who has spent the years since the 2018 shock election defeat rehabilitating his image and maintaining his innocence. Still, the appeals process could take years, possibly allowing him to participate in a federal election that must be held by 2023.

"Politically, if he's locked away, he cannot stand for elections," said Serina Rahman, a visiting fellow at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore. "He may still remain popular. He will milk the sympathy card, and people who have been his fans will likely remain his fans. They will believe that it is a political charge."

Even so, the court upholding the verdict indicates that the "law fraternity is not swayed by political maneuvering. Malaysian citizens and the world, will be hugely relieved that the judges kept to the verdict," she said.

'Concoction'

Najib attended the hearing via Zoom as he had been in close contact with a Covid patient. He was seen taking notes throughout the judge's reading of the decision, his face impassive.

The former leader was convicted of money laundering, corruption and criminal breach of trust in July last year. He was fined 210 million ringgit on top of the jail term, and faces more trials on dozens of other 1MDB-related charges.

The money from SRC ended up in Najib's personal account and was spent by him, claiming it was a no-strings-attached donations from Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah Al-Saud who passed away in 2015. This "Arab donation story is a concoction. The money is from SRC and it has been fully established," the judge said.

The Court of Appeal on Tuesday dismissed Najib's application to add new evidence in the to quash his conviction. The hearing was held virtually despite a request by Najib's legal team for a delay after one of his lawyers tested positive for Covid.

(Updates with analyst comment in sixth paragraph)

Most Read from Bloomberg Businessweek

  • From the Great Resignation to Lying Flat, Workers Are Opting Out

  • Return-to-Office Chaos Is the Best Thing to Happen to Consultants Since Y2K

  • The Fall of a Russian Cyberexecutive Who Went Against the Kremlin

  • Paige Bueckers, a College Athlete Who's Cashing In

  • The Meme Stock

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

COMMENTS

More Related News

Peltz
Peltz's Activist Fund Trian Is Said to Build Stake in Unilever

(Bloomberg) -- Nelson Peltz's activist hedge fund Trian Fund Management has built a stake in Unilever Plc, according to people familiar with the matter...

Retail Resolve, Credit Form a Stock Bull Case for Troubled Times
Retail Resolve, Credit Form a Stock Bull Case for Troubled Times

(Bloomberg) -- Fortitude among small-time traders and sanguine credit signals underlie what's left of the stock bull case as markets skid toward their worst ...

U.S. Stocks Historically Deliver Strong Gains in Fed Hike Cycles
U.S. Stocks Historically Deliver Strong Gains in Fed Hike Cycles

(Bloomberg) -- As the Nasdaq 100 comes off its worst week since the pandemic selloff in March 2020, investors now have to contend with Wednesday's Fed...

Activist Hedge Fund Trian Builds Stake in Unilever: FT
Activist Hedge Fund Trian Builds Stake in Unilever: FT

(Bloomberg) -- Nelson Peltz's activist hedge fund Trian Partners has built a stake in Unilever Plc, the Financial Times reported, potentially adding pressure...

For Goldman, Saudi Arabia Will Remain King of Mideast IPO Deals
For Goldman, Saudi Arabia Will Remain King of Mideast IPO Deals

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia will remain the busiest of the Middle East's stock markets, even as the United Arab Emirates pushes more companies to go public, ...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: US