Malaysia's former PM Najib charged with three counts of money laundering

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The money laundering charges come a month after he claimed trial to three charges of criminal breach of trust and one charge of abuse of power at the High Court.

In a packed courtroom, the three new charges were read out to Najib.

The section provides for, upon conviction, a maximum jail term of 15 years and a fine of up to five times the sum or value of the proceeds of the unlawful activities or instrumentalities of the offences at the time that the offences were committed or RM5 million, whichever is the higher.

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Former Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said his cousin and ex-Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's second round of criminal charges in line with the rule of law but hopes that he gets a fair trial in court.

The case was earlier heard before Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi, who allowed the prosecution's application to transfer the case to the High Court.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released after posting bail.

SRC has been the initial focus of Malaysian investigators as all the suspicious transactions involving it went through Malaysian entities, unlike other 1MDB-related transactions that went through foreign banks and companies.

The new investigation into 1MDB began after his shock election loss in May.

Mr Najib, who has consistently denied any wrongdoing, and his allies are accused of plundering billions of dollars from 1MDB to buy everything from United States real estate to artworks. Police also seized jewelry and valuables valued at more than 1.1 billion ringgit ($270.2 million) from properties linked to Najib.

After taking office, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, reopened an investigation into 1MDB and prevented Najib and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, from leaving the country.

On Tuesday, a luxury yacht allegedly paid for with money stolen from 1MDB arrived outside Kuala Lumpur after being handed over by Indonesian authorities.

Najib is at the centre of a probe into billions of dollars missing from a state investment fund called 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), which was set up in 2009 after he became head of his country's government.