Former Malaysian prime minister arrested over $700m corruption scandal

By BBC
Former Malaysian prime minister arrested
Former Malaysian prime minister arrested

Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak has been arrested by anti-corruption authorities and is due to be charged on Wednesday.

 Mr. Najib, who has long been plagued by allegations of corruption, has been accused of pocketing $700m (£517m) from state development fund 1MDB.

Billions of dollars are unaccounted for from the fund, set up by Mr. Najib.

He has been under investigation since his shock election loss in May. Mr. Najib denies wrongdoing.

According to a statement by the 1MDB special task force, Mr. Najib was arrested at 14:35 local time (06:35 GMT) at his house in relation to matters dealing with SRC, a subsidiary of 1MDB.

He will be charged at 08:30 on Wednesday at the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

Raids in recent weeks have been carried out across properties linked to Mr. Najib.

Police say they recovered $273m in luxury goods and cash from a raid in June, calling the seizure of valuables the biggest in Malaysian history.

Jewelry accounted for the biggest portion of the seizure, with the most expensive item being a $1.6m diamond and gold necklace.

A corruption scandal

Mr. Najib has always denied the corruption charges and had been cleared by Malaysian authorities while in power, but he is being investigated by several other countries.

He has been banned from leaving Malaysia.

1MDB, set up by Mr. Najib in 2009, was meant to turn Kuala Lumpur into a financial hub and boost the economy through strategic investments.

But it started to attract negative attention in early 2015 after it missed payments for some of the $11bn it owed to banks and bondholders.

Then the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported it had seen a paper trail that allegedly traced close to $700m from the fund to Mr. Najib's personal bank accounts.

Mr. Najib has consistently denied taking money from 1MDB or any public funds.