The case has been widely seen as a test for Malaysia’s efforts to stamp out corruption and could have big political implications for the Southeast Asian nation.
“After considering all evidence in this trial, I find that the prosecution has successfully proven its case beyond a resonable doubt,” Kuala Lumpur High Court Judge Mohamad Nazlan Mohamad Ghazali said.
Najib has said he would appeal any decision at the federal court and his lawyers sought a delay in sentencing. The corruption charges carry hefty fines and jail terms of up to 15 or 20 years.
Najib faced seven charges of criminal breach of trust, money laundering and abuse of power for allegedly illegally receiving nearly $10 million from former 1MDB unit SRC International. He had pleaded not guilty.
That’s only a fraction of the money that Najib is alleged to have misappropriated from 1MDB. Prosecutors say more than $1 billion of 1MDB funds made its way into his personal accounts – over which he faces a total of 42 criminal charges.
Allegations of corruption over 1MDB have hung over Najib for more than five years. But the criminal charges came only after his defeat in the 2018 election when his successor Mahathir Mohamad reopened investigations.