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Malaysia court upholds guilty verdict for ex-PM Najib

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Malaysia's former Prime Minister Najib Razak speaks during an interview with Reuters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on September 18, 2021. (Photo by Reuters)

A court in Malaysia has upheld former Prime Minister Najib Razak’s conviction on corruption charges over a multi-billion-dollar scandal, describing his wrongdoing as an embarrassment for the nation.

Last year, Najib was found guilty of diverting an estimated $9.88 million from SRC International, a division of the state fund 1MDB, into his personal bank accounts. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison, but was allowed to remain free while he appealed to the Federal Court, Malaysia’s highest court.

The appeals court on Wednesday dismissed the motion and affirmed his “conviction on all sentences.”

The seven charges in the SRC case involve allegations of abuse of power, several counts of money laundering, and criminal breach of trust.

“This is not something that can be said to have been done in the national interest. There is no national interest here. Just national embarrassment,” said Judge Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil.

Najib’s lead counsel, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, said he was “quite shocked” at the outcome of the appeal. He also said that describing what happened as a “national embarrassment” was “unnecessary.”

He said there were 14 areas of concern they would be raising at the Federal Court.

Najib, whose term ended with defeat in 2018 elections, still remains popular within the ruling United Malays National Organization (UMNO), which is now back in power after the electoral loss three years ago.

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