Published: 2018-07-04 10:25
Last Updated: 2018-07-04 12:55
Former PM of Malaysia, Najib Razak, who was ousted in an election two months ago, was charged by anti-corruption officials on Wednesday, after his arrest in an investigation involving billions of dollars diverted from a state investment fund.
Razak was arrested on Tuesday by a special task force at his home in Kuala Lumpur, according to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), which has been investigating billions of state funds that went missing while Najib was in power.
Last week, police said they had seized $225 million in luxury handbags, jewelry, cash and goods from six properties linked to the former leader.
The goods were seized as part of the investigation into the sprawling scandal related to 1MDB, a state investment vehicle, according to which Najib and others are accused of siphoning off billions of dollars.
Najib’s spokesperson said in a statement that “the arrest is politically motivated and the result of political vengeance by the Malaysian leadership under PM, Mahathir Mohamad, elected in May. Najib will contest these charges and clear his name in court.”
In a video posted to Twitter Tuesday evening, the former leader also dismissed the accusations as "rumors, hearsay and slander," and denied any wrongdoing.
Any corruption related offense in Malaysia carries a general penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a minimum fine of five times the value of any bribe. According to the MACC, Najib could also face lashes with a whip.