Malaysia ex-PM to face verdict in 1MDB case

NAJIB: Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak arrives at Kuala Lumpur High Court in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on July 28. Lim Huey Teng/Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR — Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak arrived at a Kuala Lumpur court on Tuesday to hear a verdict in the first of several trials he faces over a multibillion dollar graft scandal at a state fund he founded.

Najib, who was voted out in a historic 2018 election, faces dozens of criminal charges over allegations that $4.5 billion was stolen from 1Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB.

Prosecutors allege more than $1 billion of the funds made its way into his personal accounts.

A Malaysian high court will deliver a verdict in the first case over seven charges of criminal breach of trust, money laundering and abuse of power against Najib for allegedly illegally receiving nearly $10 million from former 1MDB unit SRC International. He has pleaded not guilty.

Court proceedings are expected to start at 0200 GMT.

'My chance to clear my name'

The former premier arrived in court to shouts of "long live Najib" by hundreds of supporters who had gathered outside.

Wearing a mask and flanked by top leaders of his party, Najib offered prayers just outside the courtroom.

"This is my chance to clear my name," Najib said in a Facebook post on Monday night.

"Whatever the decision tomorrow at the high court, it does not end here," he said, adding that both sides would appeal any decision at the federal court.

Najib's lawyers say he was misled by Malaysian financier Jho Low and other 1MDB officials into believing that the funds banked into his accounts were donated by the Saudi royal family, rather than misappropriated from SRC as prosecutors have alleged. Low denies wrongdoing.

If convicted, the former premier could be punished with hefty fines and jail terms of up to 15 or 20 years on each charge.

It is unclear if he will be sentenced immediately if found guilty. His lawyers have said sentencing could be delayed or suspended due to the complex nature of the case.

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