KUALA LUMPUR, March 31 (Reuters) – Malaysia’s top court on Friday threw out an attempt by jailed former prime minister Najib Razak to review his corruption conviction in the multi-billion dollar scandal at state fund 1MDB, ending Najib’s judicial efforts to challenge the guilty verdict. .
Najib became the first Prime Minister of Malaysia to be jailed after the Federal Court of Malaysia upheld a guilty verdict and a 12-year prison sentence handed down by a lower court.
Najib, 69, can no longer challenge the conviction in court but has applied for a royal clemency which, if successful, could see him released without serving the full 12-year term.
Federal Court Judge Vernon Ong said a five-member panel voted 4-1 to dismiss Najib’s request to review the sentence.
There was no judicial error in the high court’s decision last year, he said, adding that review was only granted in “very limited and exceptional circumstances.”
“Ultimately, and taking into account all the circumstances, we are forced to say that the applicant (Najib) was the author of his own misfortunes,” Ong said.
Najib’s lawyer, Shafee Abdullah, said there was a possibility of further court action due to a judge’s dissenting opinion.
“As a result of the minority judgment, there is an open road,” Shafee told reporters. He declined to say what action his client would take.
US and Malaysian investigators have said some $4.5 billion was stolen from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), co-founded by Najib during his first year as prime minister in 2009, with more than $1 billion going to linked accounts. to Najib.
Various recipients of the siphoned 1MDB funds used the money to buy luxury assets and real estate, a Picasso painting, a private jet, a superyacht, hotels, jewelry, and to finance the 2013 Hollywood movie “The Wolf of Wall Street.” “. saying.
Najib suppressed Malaysia’s investigations into the wide-ranging 1MDB scandal during his leadership, even as global investigations continued, but was impeached after losing the 2018 general election.
The British-educated son of Malaysian gentry served as prime minister from 2009 to 2018, when public anger over a corruption scandal led to electoral defeat.
He was found guilty by a high court in 2020 of criminal breach of trust, abuse of power and money laundering for illegally receiving around $10 million from SRC International, a former unit of 1MDB. He lost all of his appeals.
Najib faces three other lawsuits related to corruption at 1MDB and other government agencies.
The former prime minister has consistently pleaded not guilty to all charges against him.
Reporting by Rozanna Latiff; additional reporting by Mei Mei Chu; Written by A. Ananthalakshmi; Edited by Ed Davies and Michael Perry
Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.