Accused of extensive misappropriation from the state fund which he founded, Najib’s corruption trial marked a stunning fall from grace for a politician who led his country for almost 10 years until 2018.
Delivering his ruling in a two-hour hearing in Kuala Lumpur, Judge Mohamad Nazlan Ghazali concluded that: “I find the accused guilty and convict the accused of all seven charges.”
The trial was the first of five Najib faces, and analysts said the successful prosecution boosts the chances of him being found guilty in the remaining proceedings. In total he faces 42 charges, many of which carry lengthy jail terms of up to 20 years.
Najib has consistently denied all charges. He has said he was misled by rogue bankers and that the case against him is political.
He has promised to appeal, and on Monday night appeared to pre-empt Tuesday’s verdict, writing on Facebook: ”From day one, I have said this is the chance for me to clear my name. After this, we will go to the Court of Appeal. I am ready.”
Outrage over the 1MDB scandal contributed significantly to Najib’s defeat in a 2018 general election that saw the return of 92-year-old former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad. It was the first time Najib’s Barisan Nasional (BN) party had lost control of parliament since the founding of independent Malaysia in 1957.
Mahathir was himself ousted in a snap election in February this year, returning BN to power, and Najib’s trial has been seen as a test of the country’s commitment to rooting out corruption.