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Malaysia’s ex-PM Najib seeks to show he’s victim of fugitive

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Malaysia’s ex-PM Najib seeks to show he’s victim of fugitive

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) – Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak sought to show he was the victim of a crafty fugitive financier as he opened his protection Tuesday in his first corruption trial linked to the multibillion-dollar looting of the 1MDB state funding fund.

Najib is defending himself in opposition to seven expenses of abuse of energy, breach of belief and cash laundering relating to 42 million ringgit ($10.1 million) that allegedly went into his financial institution accounts from SRC International, a former unit of the 1MDB fund.

The excessive courtroom decide final month mentioned it was clear Najib, who was additionally finance minister on the time, wielded “overarching authority and power” in SRC and had acted for private beneficial properties.

Standing within the witness stand in his crisp blue go well with, Najib outlined 1MDB’s formation and the position of financier Low Taek Jho, who has been recognized by U.S. investigators because the mastermind behind the large scandal that’s being probed in a number of nations.

He mentioned 1MDB was initially a sovereign wealth fund began by the northeastern Terengganu state along with the state ruler, who was Malaysia’s king on the time. Ethnic state rulers take turns as Malaysia’s monarch underneath a rotating system.

Low on the time was an adviser and shut affiliate of the then-king, he mentioned.

The fund bumped into issues over its Islamic bond issuance and the Cabinet “reluctantly” agreed to take over in 2009 to stop embarrassment to the king and adversarial affect on the nation’s bond market, he mentioned.

Najib, 66, didn’t say what Low’s position was after the takeover. He mentioned Low “has shown himself to be a very influential figure in the Middle East” and will assist draw investments for 1MDB.

He mentioned the 1MDB administrators remained the identical and that it was 1MDB’s concept to type SRC in 2011. He mentioned he wasn’t conscious of firm clauses giving him key energy in SRC however that it wasn’t uncommon in government-linked corporations.

Najib denies any wrongdoing and accuses Malaysia’s new authorities of in search of political vengeance. His alliance’s surprising loss in May 2018 elections led to Malaysia’s first change of authorities since independence from Britain in 1957.

U.S. investigators say greater than $4.5 billion stolen from 1MDB was laundered by way of layers of financial institution accounts within the U.S. and different nations to finance Hollywood movies and purchase inns, a luxurious yacht, artwork works, jewellery and different extravagances. More than $700 million from the fund allegedly landed in Najib’s checking account.

This is the primary of 5 felony instances in opposition to Najib over 1MDB corruption. His spouse, a number of officers from his authorities, and the U.S. financial institution Goldman Sachs additionally face expenses associated to the scandal.

Najib’s protection will show he’s additionally “a victim” of a scheme devised by Low and his cohorts, Najib’s lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah advised reporters throughout lunch break Tuesday. Low bribed the administration of 1MDB and SRC to do his bidding and saved Najib at nighttime, the lawyer mentioned.

Low is needed in each Malaysia and the U.S. and presently in hiding,

Najib has proven he “has nothing to fear” by subjecting himself to cross-examination within the stand, Shafee added.

The patrician former chief, whose father and uncles have been the nation’s second and third prime ministers respectively, may face years in pri-son if convicted.

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