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Former Malaysian PM found guilty in corruption trial

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was found guilty Tuesday in a corruption trial over the multibillion-dollar looting of the 1MDB investment fund.

“I find the accused guilty and convict the accused of all seven charges,” Judge Mohamad Nazlan Ghazali said, according to the AP, after spending two hours to read out his ruling.

Many expect that the ruling will help the prosecution’s case in the ex-PM’s other trials. The 67-year-old former leader has said he will appeal the ruling and has called the case against him political.

“From day one, I have said this is the chance for me to clear my name,”″ he wrote on Facebook late Monday.

“After this, we will go to the Court of Appeal. I am ready.”

The ruling came five months after a new government took power with Najib’s Malay party the biggest bloc in the alliance. His party’s shocking election ouster in 2018 was driven by public anger over the 1MDB scandal.

He faces 42 charges in five separate trials and could face years in prison.

Najib’s lawyers asked the judge for a delay until next week before they made their arguments on sentencing.

The current trial involved a charge of abuse of power, three charges of criminal breach of trust and three money laundering charges.

The judge said Najib failed to raise reasonable doubt and that prosecutors had established beyond reasonable doubt that Najib misappropriated money for his own use.

Najib set up 1MDB to ostensibly accelerate Malaysia’s economic development shortly after taking office in 2009.

US investigators have claimed that at least $4.5 billion (€3.8 billion) was stolen from it and laundered by Najib’s associates to finance Hollywood films and buy hotels, a luxury yacht, artwork, jewellery, and other extravagances.

More than $700 million (€598 million) from the fund allegedly landed in Najib’s bank accounts.