Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak was arrested at his home today as part of a widening corruption probe into misappropriation at 1MBD, the state property investment fund he started after coming to power in 2009.
He is expected to be charged tomorrow with criminal breach of trust and offences under Malaysia’s Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, sources told local media.
1MDB is being investigated in six countries for alleged money laundering. The scandal plagued Najib’s second term in office, helping to turn sentiment against him on 9 May, when his long-ruling coalition was ousted in the election by a coalition led by Mahathir Mohamad, who is now prime minister.
The case against Najib is reported to revolve around the transfer of approximately $10m (42 million ringgits) into his account from SRC International, a former division of 1MDB.
It was an "open and shut case", a source close to the investigation told Malaysia’s The Star.
As well as launching the probe into 1MDB, and singling Najib our for investigation, Mahathir has been scrutinising large infrastructure schemes initiated by the Najib government.
Last month Mahathir scrapped the $27.6bn scheme to build a high-speed railway between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
And today, his government declared that the $20bn East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), which is being funded and built by Chinese entities, can only be viable with a "drastic" price reduction by the Chinese contractor involved.
Image: Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak, 2013 (Michael Wuertenberg/World Economic Forum)