World

Najib's lawyers pull off move to postpone 1MDB trial

KUALA LUMPUR Former prime minister Najib Razak's trial over the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal was postponed yesterday to allow an appeal to be heard.

Najib had been due to go on trial today over allegations he was involved in the looting of Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.

But his lawyers filed an application for the trial to be delayed pending an appeal on a technicality related to the transfer of charges between courts.

The Court of Appeal yesterday agreed to the postponement to allow for the appeal to be heard, Mr V. Sithambaram, a criminal lawyer on the prosecution team, told AFP.

He hoped the appeal would only take a week or two.

SCANDAL

Billions of dollars were allegedly stolen by Najib and his cronies from 1MDB, which was set up to help develop Malaysia's economy.

The scandal was a major factor in his long-ruling coalition's loss at polls in May.

Since losing power, Najib has been arrested repeatedly and hit with a total of 42 charges linked to 1MDB. He has denied wrongdoing.

The trial scheduled to start today is on seven charges related to allegations Najib pocketed RM42 million (S$14 million) from SRC International, a former unit of 1MDB. It is just one of several trials he is expected to face over 1MDB .

The start of the first trial will be a key moment and could relieve pressure on the new government over claims it has moved slowly on 1MDB.

Najib has gone on a bizarre publicity blitz in recent weeks, performing a cover of a 1970s soul ballad Kiss And Say Goodbye by the Manhattans, attacking the new government on social media and seeking to present himself as a man of the people. - AFP

WORLD