Malaysia cuts prison sentence of disgraced former Prime Minister Najib Razak

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Malaysia has cut former Prime Minister Najib Razak’s 12-year prison sentence for corruption in half, according to authorities in the Southeast Asian country.

Najib, who served as prime minister from 2009 to 2018, was found guilty of money laundering, abuse of power and other charges in 2020 related to the 1MDB scandal, which saw billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money embezzled out of Malaysia.

In a statement Friday, the country’s Federal Territories Pardon Board said the former leader’s application to shorten his prison sentence to six years had been approved.

Najib’s fine has also been reduced to 50 million ringgit ($10.6 million), but his sentence will be extended by a year if he does not pay it in full before his new scheduled release date of August 23, 2028, the board added.

Najib has consistently denied wrongdoing, but Malaysia’s High Court rejected multiple appeals against his convictions on charges related to the onetime sovereign wealth fund, which prosecutors alleged he and his allies used as a personal piggybank to support luxurious lifestyles and fund electioneering.

The 1MDB fund was created soon after Najib took office in 2009. The government pumped billions in public money into it, with the stated purpose of leading “market-driven initiatives to assist the government in propelling Malaysia towards becoming a developed nation that is highly competitive, sustainable and inclusive.”

Instead, according to United States prosecutors, 1MDB was used as a slush fund by Najib and other high-ranking officials at the fund.

Goldman Sachs, which underwrote much of the 1MDB fund and was facing a host of criminal and regulatory proceedings in Malaysia, agreed to a $3.9 billion settlement with the country’s government in 2020.

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