Ruling leaves Najib on the hook for 1MDB

SINGAPORE – A landmark corruption conviction against former prime minister Najib Razak was unanimously upheld by Malaysia’s Court of Appeal on Wednesday (December 8), a ruling that could slow the ex-leader’s political comeback ambitions and sow new divisions in the ruling United Malays National Organization (UMNO) where he remains highly influential.

The appellate court dismissed the former premier’s appeal to reverse a guilty verdict handed down last July in relation to the misappropriation of 42 million ringgit (US$9.9 million) from SRC International Sdn Bhd, a now-defunct investment vehicle of the scandal-plagued 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) state fund.

Najib, who has consistently denied any wrongdoing, was sentenced to 12 years in prison and handed a 210 million ringgit ($49.7 million) fine on seven charges encompassing abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money laundering. Appellate court Judge Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil said he agreed with the High Court’s earlier conviction and sentencing.

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