KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia’s anti-graft agency said it arrested former Prime Minister Najib Razak on Wednesday over the multimillion-dollar looting of a state investment fund and that he will face further charges in court.
The agency said Najib was detained at its office and will be taken to court on Thursday to face the charges.
Najib was earlier charged with multiple counts of criminal breach of trust, corruption and money laundering over the scandal at the 1MDB state fund. He has pleaded not guilty.
Those charges involve the transfer of 42 million ringgit (USD$10.3 million) into his bank accounts from SRC International, a former unit of the 1MDB fund that international investigators say was looted of billions by Najib’s associates.
Najib set up 1MDB when he took power in 2009 for the stated purpose of promoting economic development, but the fund amassed billions in debts and is being investigated in the U.S. and several other countries for alleged cross-border embezzlement and money laundering.
After leaked documents exposed the scandal, Najib sacked critics in his government, muzzled the media and quashed investigations. Public anger led to the defeat of Najib’s long-ruling coalition in May 9 elections and ushered in the first change of power since Malaysia gained independence from Britain in 1957.
The new government reopened the investigations stifled under Najib’s rule and barred him and his wife from leaving the country. Police also seized jewelry and valuables valued at more than 1.1 billion ringgit ($270.2 million) from properties linked to Najib.