OREANDA-NEWSThe Supreme Court of Malaysia began on Wednesday to consider criminal cases on charges of ex-Prime Minister Najib Razak of embezzlement of funds of the state investment fund 1MDB in the amount of about $ 547 million, the Malaysian news agency reported.

Senior Assistant Deputy Prosecutor General Gopal Ram read out allegations against Najib of using his official position to steal fund assets on a large scale, as well as money laundering. The defendant, who had previously been released on bail, rejects all charges against him, claiming that they are all politically motivated. Six witnesses will be questioned on the first day. As expected, more than 60 witnesses will be summoned to the process.

At least several charges include detention for up to 20 years, as well as corporal punishment in the form of rattan sticks. In Malaysia, there is a sentencing system for each crime individually, and not by the totality of the acts committed. In addition, a fine of five times the amount of the damage caused is possible. Najib Razak, taking the prime minister’s chair in 2009, almost immediately created the 1MDB fund, intended for large investment projects in such areas as energy, transport, and agriculture. In 2015, the American newspaper made a sensational article about the presence of $ 700 million in Najib's personal accounts, which were transferred from the fund's accounts.

Initially, the authorities categorically blamed everything, threatened the newspaper with lawsuits, and closed the local opposition media. The head of the police even called such publications attempted coup d'etat. Despite attempts to isolate themselves from allegations of corruption and theft, authorities were forced to open an investigation. As a result, the anti-corruption department recognized the presence of Najib on personal accounts of $ 700 million. True, according to their version, these millions had nothing to do with the fund, but were just sponsorship contributions. The former prime minister himself was silent for a long time, but then explained that it was help from the royal family of Saudi Arabia for political needs.