Former Malaysian leader Najib Razak arrived at the anti-graft agency today to be questioned for a second time this week over a multi-billion-dollar corruption scandal following his shock election loss.
Former Malaysian leader Najib Razak arrived at the anti-graft agency today to be questioned for a second time this week over a multi-billion-dollar corruption scandal following his shock election loss. Najib’s coalition suffered a defeat at the May 9 poll which ended their six-decade hold on power, beaten by a reformist alliance led by Mahathir Mohamad. Mahathir, who first served as premier from 1981-2003 and came out of retirement aged 92 to take on Najib, campaigned on claims that the former leader and his cronies looted sovereign wealth fund 1MDB. Billions of dollars were allegedly stolen from the fund in a sophisticated fraud, and used to buy everything from artworks to high-end real estate.
Najib pushed through a huge media scrum at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) headquarters in the administrative capital of Putrajaya as he arrived to be quizzed about 1MDB money allegedly ending up in his personal bank accounts. Najib is being questioned by the anti-corruption body over SRC International, an energy company that was originally a subsidiary of 1MDB. According to an investigation by the Wall Street Journal, 42 million ringgit ($10.6 million) originating from SRC was transferred to Najib’s personal bank accounts. It is just one small part in the graft scandal, which is being investigated in several countries. Hundreds of millions of dollars from 1MDB allegedly ended up in Najib’s accounts but the ex-leader and the investment vehicle have denied any wrongdoing. Mahathir has vowed to fully investigate the financial scandal.
After holding meetings with key figures from 1MDB Wednesday, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the fund was insolvent, could not pay its debts, and its chief was “utterly dishonest”. Najib and his unpopular wife Rosmah Mansor have suffered a swift fall from grace. Police have raided properties linked to them and seized a huge stash of handbags, cash and jewels. The ousted leader has sought to mount a fightback in recent days, insisting he has not stolen public and attacking the new government. In a Facebook post late Wednesday, he accused the new prime minister and finance minister of causing the stock market to fall by saying that the country’s national debt was huge. “Words spoken while in such positions of power result in actual losses to the country and the people,” he said.