Malaysia's former PM Najib to be charged with money laundering

Malaysia's former PM Najib to be charged with money laundering

The 300-foot (90-metre) Equanimity, equipped with pool, helicopter landing pad and cinema, belonged to Jho Low, a flamboyant global financier who allegedly played a central role in the 1MDB controversy that has engulfed former prime minister Najib Razak.

Najib, 64, has accused Malaysia's new government of seeking "political vengeance" and vowed to clear his name in his trial. Anger over the 1MDB saga led to the defeat of Najib's long-ruling coalition in May 9 polls and ushered in the first change of power since independence from Britain in 1957.

Najib arrived at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) office at 5 p.m. (0900 GMT) in a four-car motorcade.

The yacht was purportedly owned by businessman Low Taek Jho, the alleged mastermind in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.

The previous indictment was built on a 42-million-ringgit ($10.3 million) deposit into his personal bank account by SRC International.

He is also facing a separate charge under the MACC Act 2009 for receiving the RM42 million kickback for influencing government decision to provide guarantee over SRC International loans.

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Hishammuddin Hussein, Malaysia's former defense minister, had said the center was crucial to curb the spread of "violent extremism" by armed groups, including the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.

Equanimity, a luxury yacht linked to Malaysian state fund 1MDB, arrived at Port Klang on Tuesday as the Malaysian government is weighing options to deal with the 250-million-U.S. dollar super yacht.

Thomas said sensitive and delicate negotiations were conducted at the highest levels of different agencies in the three countries following the activation of the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties between Indonesia, the United States and Malaysia recently.

A large team of officials was seen entering the yacht.

The yacht was reported to have set sail from Batam Island, Indonesia on Monday, after being handed over to a senior Malaysian Marine Police officer there (Batam).

The yacht, dubbed Equanimity, was seized by Indonesian authorities off the resort island of Bali in February at the request of the U.S. Justice Department, which claims a total of $4.5 billion was looted from 1MDB.

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