Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak pleaded not guilty to new money-laundering charges on Aug. 8 in Kuala Lumpur related to the multibillion-dollar corruption scandal involving state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd., or 1MDB, media reports said.
Najib was charged with three counts of money laundering involving the transfer of 42 million Malaysian ringgit into his bank accounts from SRC International, a former 1MDB unit, the Associated Press reported.
Each money-laundering charge carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison and a fine of at least five times the amount of proceeds in question.
In July, Najib pleaded not guilty to charges of abuse of power and criminal breach of trust that were also linked to SRC International.
The indictment is a first for a former Malaysian premier and follows renewed domestic investigations into the state fund after Najib lost in the May elections. Current Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who ran on an anticorruption platform, is looking to recover $4.5 billion of funds potentially lost through 1MDB, Bloomberg News said.
As of Aug. 7, US$1 was equivalent to 4.08 Malaysian ringgit.