Jailed Malaysian ex-PM Najib loses final bid to review 1MDB graft conviction
Malaysia’s top court on Friday (March 31) dismissed a bid by jailed former prime minister Najib Razak to review his corruption conviction over the multi-billion dollar scandal at state fund 1MDB, ending Najib’s judicial efforts to challenge the guilty verdict.
Najib was jailed last year after Malaysia’s Federal Court upheld a guilty verdict and 12-year prison sentence handed down to him by a lower court.
Najib can no longer challenge the conviction in court, but he has applied for a royal pardon which if successful could see him released without serving the full 12-year term.
Federal Court Judge Vernon Ong said a five-member panel voted four-one to dismiss Najib’s application to review the conviction.
There was no miscarriage of justice in the top court’s decision last year, he said, adding that a review was granted only in “very limited and exceptional circumstances”.
“In the final analysis, and having regard to all circumstances, we are constrained to say that the applicant (Najib) was the author of his own misfortunes,” Ong said.
Investigators have said some US$4.5 billion (S$5.9 billion) was stolen from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) — co-founded by Najib during his first year as prime minister in 2009 — and that more than US$1 billion went to accounts linked to Najib.
Najib, 69, was charged after he lost a general election in 2018.
He was found guilty by a high court in 2020 of criminal breach of trust, abuse of power and money laundering for illegally receiving about $10 million from SRC International, a former unit of 1MDB. He lost all his appeals.
The former premier has consistently pleaded not guilty.
Najib faces three other trials related to graft at 1MDB and other government agencies.