The former prime minister is under investigation over a multibillion-dollar corruption scandal at 1MDB. Prosecutors in at least six countries, including the United States, have been investigating Najib’s possible role in the missing funds.
A lawyer on Najib’s legal team would not comment on the charges or on whether Najib would enter a plea, and said his guilt was “up to the courts to decide.”
Najib, as Malaysia’s prime minister, wielded significant power over the state’s institutions and quashed an investigation into misappropriation of 1MDB funds.
But in a major blow for Najib and his United Malays National Organization, a May 9 election put in place a government determined to weed out corruption and address Malaysia’s fiscal troubles.
Najib’s successor, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad — who once mentored Najib — had used the 1MDB affair as a major campaign tool and blamed Najib for Malaysia’s swelling deficit and deep financial problems.
The U.S. Department of Justice alleged that at least $4.5 billion is missing from the state fund, siphoned off to Najib’s family and associates.
In raids on his house, police found cash and luxury goods, including handbags and jewelry, valued at $273 million. The task force has also frozen more than 400 bank accounts it believes to be connected to the misappropriation of money from the state fund.