Malaysia has 'almost flawless case' against ex-PM Najib Razak

Riza Aziz

But millions of voters threw the former prime minister and Barisan Nasional (BN) out of office a little under two months ago, triggering the series of events that led to his low-key arrest by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers from his home yesterday.

Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak has been arrested by anti-corruption agents.

In addition, the police have seized cash, handbags and jewelry valued at more than 1 billion ringgit as part of the investigation. He has consistently denied wrongdoing.

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That means 355 are required for a majority, which is needed in a confidence vote or to elect a new chancellor, and Merkel's coalition has 399.

This story is developing.

At a book launch event earlier, MACC chief commissioner Shukri Abdull was asked when Najib would be charged.

Najib's wife, Rosmah, has also been quizzed by anti-graft investigators in relation to 1MDB and Najib's stepson, Riza Aziz, was giving a statement to the MACC when news broke of Najib's arrest.

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The 1MDB - founded by Najib in 2009 - is being investigated in at least six countries for alleged money laundering and graft.

The 1MDB government task force this week said 408 bank accounts involving funds of almost 1.1 billion ringgit had been frozen. Najib is expected to face more charges over the 1MDB scandal and his prosecution could take years, because the former PM has indicated he will mount a rigorous defence against the accusations thrown at him. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Razak is accused of using his 1MDB sovereign wealth fund as a "personal piggy bank" to pump money into the development of Red Granite Pictures, among other, more Wolf of Wall Street-y things. In the USA, his production company had reached a $60 million settlement in a suit that alleged the movie was funded by money siphoned from 1MDB.

Najib has maintained his innocence in the 1MDB scandal that has allegedly amassed US$4.5 billion, money that was siphoned through a series of bank transactions and used to purchase assets overseas including luxury yacht, paintings and properties. Red Granite, of course, is one of the production companies behind Martin Scorsese's Leonardo DiCaprio-starring classic.

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Najib, as Malaysia's prime minister, wielded significant power over the state's institutions and quashed an investigation into misappropriation of 1MDB funds.

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