Malaysia’s former prime minister Najib Razak arrested

Malaysia’s former prime minister Najib Razak has been arrested and will face further charges of abuse of power over the looting of a state investment fund.

The agency said in a statement that Najib was detained at its office over the transfer of 2.6 billion ringgit (£476 million) into his bank account.

It said Najib will be taken to court on Thursday to face several charges under Section 23 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act.

Najib was earlier charged with multiple counts of criminal breach of trust, corruption and money laundering over the scandal at the 1MDB state fund, just months after his shocking electoral defeat.

He has pleaded not guilty and his trial is due to start next year.

Najib set up 1MDB when he took power in 2009 to promote economic development, but the fund amassed billions in debts and is being investigated in the US and several other countries for alleged cross-border embezzlement and money laundering.

Public anger over the 1MDB scandal led to the ouster of Najib’s long-ruling coalition in national polls on May 9 and ushered in the first change of power since independence from Britain in 1957.

The new government reopened investigations stifled under Najib’s rule and barred him and his wife from leaving the country.

Police also seized jewellery and hundreds of handbags and other valuables estimated at more than 1.1 billion ringgit (£207 million) from properties linked to Najib.

Police have said that investigations have shown that £739 million had been transferred to Najib’s bank account from three companies linked to 1MDB.

Najib, 65, has accused Malaysia’s new government under Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad of seeking political vengeance and vowed to clear his name at his trial.

He has claimed the money was a political donation from Saudi Arabia’s royal family.

- Press Association

Most Read in World