Former PM Najib arrested

Najib is expected to be charged today for more than 10 counts of CBT linked to SRC International


FORMER Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak was arrested yesterday afternoon by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) over dealings worth millions of ringgit related to a former subsidiary of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

The 64-year-old politician, who comes from one of the country’s most influential political families, was taken away by MACC officials from his private residence in Langgak Duta, Kuala Lumpur, at 2.35pm yesterday in a three-car convoy.

Najib spent the night at the MACC lock-up in Putrajaya before he is charged today on charges related to 1MDB’s former subsidiary, SRC International Sdn Bhd. MACC chief Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull confirmed the arrest.

National news agency Bernama reported that the former PM faces more than 10 counts of committing criminal breach of trust (CBT) linked to SRC International.

Najib is expected to be charged at 8.30am at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex. The new Attorney General (AG) Tommy Thomas is expected to lead the prosecution team.

It was widely speculated that Najib was supposed to be charged over SRC International’s dealings by then former AG Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail before he was replaced in late July 2015.

The arrest of the eldest son of the the country’s second prime minister had been widely speculated since last week as authorities called more witnesses, clamped down on hundreds of bank accounts and ransacked premises linked to people of interest for loot and evidence.

Authorities have already seized cash, jewelleries and other valuables worth over RM1 billion from several premises linked to Najib.

A close aide to Najib was also recently remanded by the MACC to assist in the investigation.

Najib’s arrest came while his stepson Riza Aziz, the “Wolf of Wall Street” producer, was giving evidence at the MACC.

The co-founder of Red Granite Pictures allegedly received US$64 mi l l ion (RM258.98 million) from the RM1 billion that was reportedly looted from the state investment company. Riza has not been charged or arrested for any wrongdoing.

MACC chief commissioner Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull said the commission only recorded Riza’s statement and there was no necessity to detain him for the moment.

Riza completed recording his statement at 10.30pm last night after spending almost nine hours at the MACC.

Najib’s wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, had also been called for questioning by the MACC as authorities expand their investigations into 1MDB and beneficiaries of the billions suspected to have been misappropriated from the stateowned development fund.

Former Deputy PM Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was questioned on Monday and yesterday.

The MACC has also frozen more than 400 bank accounts and asked those who “had received funds” from 1MDB to return the money.

Najib had repeatedly denied any wrongdoing related to SRC International, a former unit of 1MDB before being taken over by the Finance Ministry, and the RM2.6 billion that was deposited into his private account.

Recently, he maintained that the money deposited into his account was from a Saudi royal family member.

The 1MDB scandal, considered one of the world’s largest financial scandals with over US$4.5 billion misappropriated, was among the reasons Najib’s Barisan Nasional coalition was ousted in the recent May 9 general election.

Probes over 1MDB are taking place in no less than six different countries, including in the US, Switzerland and Singapore.

Malaysian authorities are also seeking help from the United Arab Emirates and France to link the dots to what is said to be one of the most complex web of money transfers and financial shadowings.

The fund was formed when Najib first took office in 2009 and has accumulated billions of debts. US investigators said Najib and his associates siphoned US$4.5 billion from the fund, of which RM2.6 billion was channelled into Najib’s bank account.

PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the Pakatan Harapan government promised a full-scale investigation into the 1MDB embezzlement and pledged to recover the money.

The new administration appointed a new AG, replaced the MACC chief and formed a special task force to probe into the troubled state firm.

The 81 individuals and 55 companies which had their accounts frozen were believed to have received misappropriated funds from 1MDB.

The accounts contain over 900 transactions made between March 2011 and September 2015.