KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysia’s former leader, Najib Razak, was found guilty of corruption and sentenced to 12 years in jail on Tuesday in the first trial over a multi-billion-dollar scandal at state fund 1MDB that stretched to the Gulf states and Hollywood.
In a case widely seen as a test of the nation’s resolve to stamp out corruption and which could have major political implications, high court judge Mohamad Nazlan Mohamad Ghazali sentenced Najib to 12 years and a fine of 210 million ringgit ($49 million) for abuse of power.
Najib, 67, also received 10 years in jail on each of three charges of criminal breach of trust and three charges of money laundering for illegally receiving nearly $10 million from SRC International, a former unit of the state fund.
“After considering all evidence in this trial, I find that the prosecution has successfully proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt,” Mohamad Nazlan said.
He ordered the jail terms to run concurrently.
The judge allowed a request by Najib’s lawyers to delay the jail sentence and the fine, but asked Najib to post additional bail and report to a police station twice a month.
Najib had pleaded not guilty, and said he would appeal the verdict in Malaysia’s Federal Court if convicted. The verdict could potentially be partially or fully overturned, though that could take years.
The nearly $10 million in the SRC case is a fraction of the funds Najib is alleged to have misappropriated from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), the state fund.
Prosecutors say more than $1 billion of 1MDB funds made its way into Najib’s personal accounts, over which he faces a total of 42 criminal charges.
U.S. and Malaysian authorities say $4.5 billion is believed to have been stolen from 1MDB, a fund Najib founded to promote economic development, and used by his associates to buy art, a superyacht and fund the “Wolf of Wall Street” movie.