KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysia’s Supreme Court on Friday rejected an attempt by jailed former prime minister Najib Razak to review his corruption conviction over a multibillion-dollar scandal at state fund 1MDB, ending Najib’s legal efforts to appeal the conviction. .
Najib became the first Malaysian prime minister to be imprisoned after the Federal Court of Malaysia upheld a guilty verdict and a 12-year prison sentence imposed on him by a lower court.
Najib, 69, can no longer challenge the conviction in court, but has applied for a royal pardon that, if successful, could lead to his release without serving the full 12-year term.
Federal Court Judge Vernon Ong said a five-member panel voted 4-1 to reject Najib’s request for a conviction review.
He said there was no miscarriage of justice in last year’s Supreme Court decision, adding that the review was only granted in “extremely limited and exceptional circumstances”.
“In the final analysis, taking into account all the circumstances, we are compelled to say that the applicant (Najib) is the author of his misfortunes,” Ong said.
Najeeb’s lawyer, Shafee Abdullah, said that there is a possibility of another case being filed in court due to the dissenting opinion of a judge.
“As a result of minority rule, there is an open road,” El-Shafei told reporters. He refused to disclose what action his client would take.
US and Malaysian investigators said about $4.5 billion was stolen from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) — which Najib co-founded during his first year as prime minister in 2009 — and that more than $1 billion went to accounts linked to Najib.
Many of the beneficiaries of the withdrawn 1MDB funds used the money to purchase luxury assets and real estate, a Picasso painting, a private jet, a luxury yacht, hotels, jewelry and to finance the 2013 Hollywood movie “The Wolf of Wall Street,” investigators said.
Najib cracked down on Malaysian investigations into the wide-ranging 1MDB scandal during his leadership even as global investigations continued, but he was indicted after losing the general election in 2018.
The British-educated son of Malay nobility served as prime minister from 2009 to 2018, when public outrage over a graft scandal led to an election defeat.
A higher court in 2020 found him guilty of breach of trust, abuse of power and money laundering for illegally receiving about $10 million from SRC International, a former unit of 1MDB. He lost all his pleas.
Najib faces three more trials related to graft at 1MDB and other government agencies.
The former prime minister has consistently pleaded not guilty to all charges.
(Reporting by Rosanna Latif), Additional reporting by Mi Mi Chu; Written by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Ed Davies and Michael Berry
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