PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia — Malaysia’s Court of Appeal on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023, upheld the acquittal of former Prime Minister Najib Razak of audit tampering in relation to the multibillion dollar looting of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad state fund, though he remains in prison for other graft charges.
The court struck out the appeal after prosecutors failed to meet deadlines in filing documents to support their bid, Najib’s lawyer Mohamed Shafee Abdullah told a news conference.
Najib, 70, was acquitted in March after the High Court ruled prosecutors failed to show that he abused his position to order amendments to a 1MDB audit report in 2016 to coverup wrongdoings before it was presented in Parliament.
“The acquittal is upheld without any further process,” Shafee said, adding that prosecutors are unlikely to appeal to the top court.
The audit tampering is one of Najib’s several corruption trials. He is currently serving a 12-year jail term after losing his final appeal last year in his first of several corruption trials linked to the 1MDB scandal.
The 1MDB fund was set up months after Najib became prime minister in 2009. Investigators allege more than $4.5 billion was stolen from the fund and laundered by Najib’s associates through lawyers of bank accounts in the United States and other countries to finance Hollywood films and extravagant purchases that included hotels, a luxury yacht, art and jewelry. More than $700 million landed in Najib’s bank accounts.
Najib and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, were hit with multiple graft charges after the saga led to his ruling coalition’s shocking defeat in 2018 general elections. Rosmah was sentenced in 2022 to 10 years in prison and a record fine of 970 million ringgit ($217 million) for corruption over a solar energy project and is out on bail pending an appeal. / AP