Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak has been sentenced to serve up to 12 years in prison after being found guilty of crimes involving the multibillion-dollar looting of a state investment fund.
Najib has vowed to appeal against the verdict and took an oath in brief remarks from the dock prior to the sentencing that he was unaware of the graft.
Judge Mohamad Nazlan Ghazali sentenced Najib to 12 years in jail on one count of abuse of power, 10 years each for three counts of criminal breach of trust, and 10 years each for three counts of money laundering, as well as a fine of 210 million ringgit ($69 million).
But he ordered the sentences to run concurrently, meaning Najib will face up to 12 years in jail.
The judge allowed a stay of the jail sentence and fine pending Najib’s planned appeal.
But he raised the bail amount and ordered Najib to report to the police twice a month.
Najib Razak: Malaysia's former PM and his downfall over alleged corruption https://t.co/h57I4Jx1wK
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) July 28, 2020
The former leader was convicted earlier on Tuesday of crimes involving the funnelling of funds from a Malaysian state investment fund. The scandal brought down his government two years ago.
It was the first verdict in five corruption trials against Najib.
After court resumed in the afternoon, Najib’s lawyers argued for a light sentence.
The defence said it was “crippled” by the judge’s refusal to delay the sentencing arguments until next week.
Prosecutors said the case had tarnished the country as a kleptocracy and sought a deterrent sentence to remind those in high public office that “no one is above the law.”
The ruling was “absolutely” good for Malaysia, said analyst Bridget Welsh, honorary research associate with University of Nottingham Malaysia.
“I think that there is a sense of euphoria among the citizens that justice is being served, among the majority of Malaysians,” Welsh said.
“Keep in mind that majority of Malaysians voted (in 2018) for political change, and the 1MDB case was a catalyst in that.
“The 1MDB case damaged Malaysia’s reputation, and I think today worked towards restoring that.”