Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has been found guilty of all seven charges in the first of several multi-million-dollar corruption trials.
The case centres around the 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a sovereign wealth fund set up in 2009, when he was in office.
Razak is accused of diverting an estimated 42 million ringgit ($9.8m today) from SRC International, a unit of 1MDB, into his personal bank accounts.
“After considering all evidence in this trial, I find that the prosecution has successfully proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt,” judge Mohamad Nazlan Mohamad Ghazali told the Kuala Lumpur High Court.
Ahead of the hearing, Najib said he would fight on until the end, vowing to appeal against any guilty verdicts against him.
Najib could now face decades in jail – but he is expected to remain out of prison until appeals are exhausted.
The 1MDB scandal has uncovered a global web of fraud and corruption. It sent shockwaves through Malaysia’s political establishment, leading to the toppling of Najib’s UMNO party, which had governed the country for 61 years since it gained independence.
The former prime minister was cleared of all allegations by Malaysian authorities while he was still in office but after suffering an election defeat in 2018, the new government swiftly reopened investigations into the scandal.
A separate trial that began last August alleged that the former prime minister illicitly obtained 2.28bn ringgit ($550m) from 1MDB between 2011 and 2014.
He is facing 21 counts of money-laundering and four of abuse of power but again denies any wrongdoing. His wife, Rosmah Mansor, also faces money-laundering and tax evasion charges, to which she has pleaded not guilty.