Malaysia's Najib loses appeal to nullify 1MDB trial
Malaysia’s former prime minister Najib Razak on Tuesday failed in his bid to nullify the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB)-linked graft trial that resulted in his conviction.
Malaysia’s highest court ruled to push ahead with hearing the 69-year-old’s final appeal against his conviction and 12-year jail sentence.
Najib had wanted to push for a retrial by regarding an alleged conflict of interest involving High Court Judge Nazlan Ghazali. Nazlan had convicted the former premier of misappropriating 42 million ringgit (95.1 million baht) from SRC International, a former subsidiary of 1MDB.
The defence sought to cast doubt on Justice Nazlan's credibility, saying that the verdict was compromised by his prior employment at Maybank, one of Malaysia's largest lenders.
The judge was Maybank's general counsel and company secretary during the time the bank advised 1MDB on the formation of SRC, and Najib's lawyers have said that the judge should have recused himself as he is "too close for comfort to be the judge trying the SRC case".
But on Tuesday, a five-member bench at the Federal Court led by Malaysia's Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat unanimously threw out the motion to introduce new evidence, forcing Najib and his newly appointed defence lawyers to proceed with arguing his final appeal.
Should Najib fail in his appeal, he faces 12 years in jail and 210 million ringgit in fines.
Failing to overturn his conviction would also disqualify him as a candidate in Malaysia's next general election, which must be held by September next year.
While Najib's appeal is scheduled to run until August 26, the outcome is expected to be made known only at a later date, as the court usually sets another date to deliver a decision.
The Straits Times
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