The trial of Malaysia’s former Prime Minister, Najib Razak, over allegations of corruption and money laundering related to the 1MDB scandal is set to begin on Tuesday, February 12. However, on Monday, Najib’s lawyers have applied for a delay based on a technicality concerning the transfer of charges in the different courts.
A decision from the Court of Appeals is due later on Monday.
February 12 was to have been the first day that Najib would answer for his part in the 1MDB case, a scandal that rocked Malaysia and helped unseat Najib, costing him last year’s presidential elections, which he lost to 93-year-old Dr. Tun Mahathir Mohammad.
Najib and other Malaysian officials, employees of United States’ financial institution Goldman Sachs, and fugitive Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low, have allegedly stolen billions of dollars from 1MDB (1Malaysia Development Berhad), a strategic development company, which was started for the purpose of driving strategic initiatives for long-term economic development for the Malaysia through forging global partnerships and promoting direct investments.
Najib faces 42 charges in connection with the fund and has been arrested several times.
The former Prime Minister has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
For the 1MDB scandal, in particular, Najib faces seven charges connected to allegations that he stole 42 million ringgit ($10.3 million) from one of the former units of the fund, SRC International.
This is only the first of the 1MDB-related court dates that Najib will be facing, and the amount involved is but a portion of the total that he is accused of having stolen.
However, being the first of the trials, it has special significance. It could also boost the government’s morale against criticism of dragging its heels over the 1MDB case.
Najib has been working hard to refurbish his tarnished image of late, attempting to reinvent himself in the eyes of the public as a man of the masses, especially on social media.