Malaysia arrests former Prime Minister Najib Razak on graft charges

Najib's arrest comes nearly two months after his coalition's shocking defeat in a May 9 general election.

Published: 03rd July 2018 02:39 PM  |   Last Updated: 03rd July 2018 04:22 PM   |  A+A-

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak (Photo | AP)

By PTI

PUTRAJAYA: A government official and an aide to former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak say Najib has been arrested by anti-graft officials.

Najib's arrest comes nearly two months after his coalition's shocking defeat in a May 9 general election.

The official, who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter, said Najib was picked up from his house Tuesday and is being brought to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission's headquarters, and that the agency will issue a statement soon.

The aide, who declined to be named, confirmed his arrest.

Allegations of massive corruption were a major factor behind the shock election loss in May of Najib's long-ruling coalition to a reformist alliance headed by his former mentor Mahathir Mohamad.

Najib and his cronies were accused of plundering billions of dollars from the 1MDB sovereign wealth fund to buy everything from US real estate to artworks.

Najib and the fund deny any wrongdoing. Since the election loss, Najib has been banned from leaving the country and has found himself at the centre of a widening graft probe.

Shortly after his ouster, a vast trove of valuables seized in raids on properties linked Najib and his family, including cash, jewellery and luxury handbags, is worth up to $273 million.

He and his luxury-loving wife Rosmah Mansor were questioned by investigators.

A special government task force investigating the 1MDB corruption scandal said it froze 408 bank accounts containing a total 1.

1 billion ringgit ($272 million) last week.

Local media reports said some of the accounts belonged to Najib's political party, the once-powerful United Malays National Organisation (UMNO).

Until their shock defeat in May, Najib's party and its coalition allies had run Malaysia for six decades.

A security source told AFP that agents from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission arrested Najib at his home, a sprawling mansion in a well-heeled suburb of Kuala Lumpur.

"They came in three to four unmarked cars," the source, a senior security official familiar with the arrest, said.

The task force said Najib was arrested in relation to allegations involving SRC International Sdn Bhd, an energy company that was originally a subsidiary of 1MDB.

According to an investigation by the Wall Street Journal, $10.

6 million originating from SRC was transferred to Najib's personal bank accounts, just one small part of hundreds of millions of dollars from 1MDB that allegedly ended up in Najib's accounts.

The US Justice Department, which is seeking to recover items allegedly bought with stolen 1MDB cash in America, estimates that $4.

5 billion in total was looted from the fund.

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