Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak took to the witness box on Tuesday, December 3rd, to defend himself in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) fraud trial, AFP has reported.
Najib is accused of illegally receiving 42 million ringgit ($10 million) from former sovereign wealth fund 1MDB unit SRC International and spending it on a luxurious lifestyle including expensive real estate and artwork. He was ordered to present his defence in November after a case was established against him.
Mostly due to public anger over the scandal, Najib's party was defeated at the polls last year after six decades in power. He has since been arrested and now faces dozens of charges linked to the looting of public funds.
Muhammad Shafee Adbullah, who leads Najib's defence team, said the ex-premier is a victim as much as others in the 1MDB scandal.
“Najib was not involved in any corrupt arrangement involving funds of SRC and did not solicit any bribes from any person,” Reuters has quoted Shafee as saying.
Najib, appearing in Kuala Lumpur High Court wearing a blue suit, took the oath in both English and Malay before starting to read from his 243-page-long written testimony in Malay.
If proven guilty, Najib, 66, could face large fines and jail terms ranging from 15 to 20 years on each charge.