Malaysia's ex-PM Najib charged with corruption over 1MDB

Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi arrives at the MACC headquarters in Putrajaya to give his statement

Bridget Welsh, a Southeast Asia expert at John Cabot University in Rome, said Najib's arrest was the "inevitable outcome" after he lost power. He is now the first ex-premier to appear before a judge and to be charged, and is expected to be freed on bail later on Wednesday after the court allowed a one million ringgit (£187,500) bond.

Each of the four charges carries a prison sentence of up to 20 years.

However, he declined to comment further about the gag order and told the media that the questions should be directed to Najib's defence team as they were the one's who had applied for it.

Najib has denied wrongdoing since news of the scandal emerged.

"I wish to categorically state that this claim is false", Zeti said in the statement, referring to Najib saying the central bank was aware of the 2.6 billion ringgit placed in his account.

Malaysian anti-corruption agents arrested Najib on Tuesday following a probe into how money went missing from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a state fund he founded nearly a decade ago.

Soon after his win, Malaysia's new prime minister reopened the 1MDB investigations and vowed that Mr Najib "would face the consequences" if he was found to have broken any laws.

It is also being investigated in six countries for alleged money laundering.

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United States investigators say US$4.5 billion was stolen and laundered from 1MDB by Najib's associates, including some US$700 million that landed in Najib's bank account.

Since his shock election loss to Mahathir Mohamad in May, Najib has been barred from leaving the country, quizzed by the anti-graft agency and had his personal and family houses searched as part of the 1MDB probe.

While many Malaysians are engrossed with the updates following Najib's arrest, a close family member has made a decision to request the people's sympathy over the man's arrest through a social media post.

Najib "is anxious to clear his name", he told the High Court.

SRC, created in 2011 by Najib's government to pursue overseas investments in energy resources, was a unit of 1MDB until it was moved to the finance ministry in 2012.

Najib's wife, Rosmah, and his stepson, Riza Aziz, have also been quizzed by anti-graft investigators in relation to 1MDB.

Shortly after his downfall, a treasure trove of valuables was seized in raids on properties linked to Najib and his family - including cash, jewellery and luxury handbags - worth up to $273 million.

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