Putrajaya: Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was grilled for more than four hours on Tuesday over a corruption scandal that could lead to criminal charges against him, while the country’s new anti-graft chief said investigations into the case were suppressed by intimidation during Najib’s rule.
Najib was summoned by Malaysia’s Anti-Corru-ption Commission nearly two weeks after the defeat of his long-ruling coalition in national elections amid public anger over alleged graft at the 1MDB state investment fund that Najib set up. US investigators say Najib’s associates stole and laundered $4.5 billion from the fund from 2009 to 2014, some of which landed in Najib’s bank account.
New finance minister Lim Guan Eng said that Najib’s government had conducted “an exercise of deception” over the 1MDB issue and misrepresented the country's financial situation to parliament.
Swarmed by reporters, Najib looked calm and smiled as he was escorted into the commission’s offices. He told reporters after he came out that he will return on Thursday to continue giving his statement. New commission chief Mohamad Shukri Abdull said criminal charges against Najib could come “very soon.” Najib has denied any wrongdoing since the scandal erupted in 2015. As prime minister, he sacked critics in his government and muzzled the media to try to survive the fallout.