Downfall of Malaysia’s ex-leader Najib Razak: Here is the timeline of events

By: |
July 28, 2020 1:11 PM

A massive financial scandal linked to the 1MDB wealth sovereign fund helped sink former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak's political career and ended the six-decade rule of his coalition in 2018 national elections.

Malaysia, Najib Razak, Malaysia ex leader, 1MDB wealth sovereign fund, Najib Razak political career, Kuala Lumpur, malaysia prime minister, latest news on najib razakNajib was found guilty Tuesday in his first corruption trial over the multibillion-dollar looting of 1MDB. (Reuters photo)

A massive financial scandal linked to the 1MDB wealth sovereign fund helped sink former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s political career and ended the six-decade rule of his coalition in 2018 national elections. Najib was found guilty Tuesday in his first corruption trial over the multibillion-dollar looting of 1MDB.

A timeline of how the saga unfolded:
April 3, 2009: Najib is sworn in as Malaysia’s sixth prime minister.

July 2009: 1MDB is formed with Najib as advisory board chairman.

July 2015: A report by The Wall Street Journal alleges that nearly $700 million of 1MDB money has been channeled into Najib’s personal bank accounts. Najib denies the allegations. He fires his then-critical deputy Muhyiddin Yassin and terminates the attorney general who was investigating him. A whistle-blowing website is blocked and two newspapers are suspended over their reporting on the scandal.

Aug, 29-30, 2015: Thousands of Malaysians rally in Kuala Lumpur to demand Najib’s resignation.

Jan 26, 2016: New Attorney General Apandi Ali clears Najib of any wrongdoing, saying the money in his bank accounts was a donation from Saudi Arabia’s royal family.

Jul 21, 2016: The US Justice Department initiates moves to recover over $1 billion that investigators say was stolen from 1MDB by associates of Najib and used to buy assets.

May 9, 2018: Najib’s National Front coalition, which had ruled Malaysia since independence from Britain in 1957, loses in a general election. A reformist opposition alliance takes power, with nonagenarian Mahathir Mohamad making a comeback as prime minister for a second time.

May 10-June 2018: Najib and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, are banned from leaving the country, and the new government reopens investigations into 1MDB. Police seize cash and thousands of luxury items, from jewellery to handbags, from premises linked to Najib, worth up to 1.1 billion ringgit ($259 million).

July 4, 2018: Najib is charged with three counts of criminal breach of trust and one count of abusing his power.

Aug 8, 2018: Najib pleads not guilty to three more counts of money laundering and asks for a trial.

Sept 20, 2018: Najib pleads not guilty to another 25 charges of abuse of power and money laundering.

Oct 4, 2018: Najib’s wife, Rosmah, pleads not guilty to money-laundering and tax evasion charges.

Oct 25, 2018: Najib and his former treasury secretary-general jointly are charged with six counts of criminal breach of trust over government payments linked to 1MDB.

Dec 12, 2018: Najib pleads not guilty to a new charge of tampering with a state audit report into 1MDB, with a former 1MDB CEO accused of abetting him.

Dec 17, 2018: Malaysia files criminal charges against Goldman Sachs and two former executives over bond sales it organized for 1MDB.

Feb 8, 2019: Najib pleads not guilty to three more money-laundering charges, bringing the total charges against him to 42.

April 3, 2019: Najib’s first graft trial starts.

July 5, 2019: Riza Aziz, Najib’s stepson and producer of ?The Wolf of Wall Street? film, pleads not guilty to charges of laundering money belonging to 1MDB.

Aug 28, 2019: Najib’s second and biggest trial on 25 graft charges starts.

Nov 11, 2019: The high court orders Najib to enter his defense in his first trial.

Nov 18, 2019: Najib’s third trial starts.

Feb 5, 2020: Graft trial of Najib’s wife starts.

Feb 24, 2020: Mahathir quits as prime minister after his Malay party and some lawmakers abandon the ruling alliance, sparking its collapse.

March 1, 2020: Mahathir’s fellow party member Muhyiddin Yassin is sworn in as the new prime minister with a Malay centric government that includes Najib’s party.

May 14, 2020: Prosecutors drop money-laundering charges against Najib’s stepson, Riza Aziz.

June 8, 2020: Prosecutors dismiss 46 graft charges against a former state leader from Najib’s party.

July 22, 2020: A court orders Najib to pay 1.69 billion ringgit ($398 million) in unpaid taxes.

July 25, 2020: The government reaches a $3.9 billion settlement with Goldman Sachs in exchange for dropping all charges and claims against the US investment bank.

July 28, 2020: Najib is found guilty in his first corruption trial over the multibillion-dollar looting of 1MDB.

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