Malaysia jails former leader, robber baron
by Lynde Langdon
Posted 7/03/18, 11:08 am
Malaysian police arrested former Prime Minister Najib Razak on Tuesday, punctuating the downfall of one of the country’s wealthiest political families. Authorities accuse Najib of stealing billions of dollars from a state investment fund he set up when he took power in 2009. Police have seized truckloads of luggage filled with cash, jewelry, and designer bags worth $272 million from his home and other properties. Najib’s father and uncle served as Malaysia’s second and third prime ministers, respectively.
The rural Malays who make up the base of his liberal party have ridiculed his extravagance, and the U.S. Justice Department said he used $4.5 billion in stolen funds to finance Hollywood films and purchase hotels, a yacht, art, and a 22-carat pink diamond necklace for his wife. As prime minister, Najib promised to reform oppressive security laws but failed to do so and increasingly pandered to Islamists and ethnic chauvinists in the the country. He denies the charges against him and called them “political vengeance” against his family.
Read more from The Sift Sign up for The Sift email