How reformist is Najib Razak

Najib Razak: Former Malaysian Prime Minister guilty of all charges in the corruption process

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was convicted in the first of several million dollar corruption lawsuits.

He had pleaded not guilty to allegations of criminal breach of trust, money laundering and abuse of power.

The 2009-2018 case against Najib was widely viewed as a test of Malaysia's anti-corruption efforts.

The Malaysian 1MDB sovereign wealth fund scandal exposed a global web of fraud and corruption.

Najib could now spend decades in jail - but he is expected to stay out of jail until the appeals are exhausted.

"After reviewing all of the evidence in the trial, I can see that the prosecution has proven your case beyond doubt," Judge Mohamad Nazlan Mohamad Ghazali told the Kuala Lumpur Supreme Court.

What were the allegations?

Tuesday's rulings centered on 42 million ringgit (US $ 10 million, £ 7.7 million) transferred from the fund to the then Prime Minister's personal accounts.

Najib denies any wrongdoing and says he was misled by financial advisors - particularly the fugitive financier Jho Low.

Jho Low has been charged in both the US and Malaysia, but also maintains his innocence.

Najib's defense team argued that he had come to believe that the funds in his accounts were donated by the Saudi royal family - rather than being misused by the state fund.

The charges include 15 to 20 years in prison. Prior to the verdict, Najib said he would appeal if found guilty.

More about the 1MDB scandal

What is the 1MDB scandal?

Fund 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) was set up in 2009 as Prime Minister of Najib Razak to promote the country's economic development.

In 2015, questions were raised about its activities after failing to make payments to banks and bondholders.

The Malaysian and US authorities claim that $ 4.5 billion was illegally looted from the fund and diverted into private pockets.

The lack of money has been linked to luxury real estate, a private jet, artwork by Van Gogh and Monet - and even a Hollywood blockbuster, The Wolf of Wall Street.

Last week, US bank Goldman Sachs reached a $ 3.9 billion (£ 3 billion) deal with the Malaysian government for its role in the multi-billion dollar corruption program.

The deal sparked charges in Malaysia that the bank misled investors by helping to raise $ 6.5 billion for 1MDB.

Since his dramatic electoral defeat two years ago, the first for his party in 60 years - and the humiliation of seeing luxury goods rolled out of his home by the police in shopping carts - Najib Razak has seen a political resurrection.

He is still a very powerful figure within the UMNO, the former ruling party, and has successfully portrayed himself as an advocate of ethnic Malaysians, many of whom have become disillusioned with the reformist coalition that replaced him.

When that coalition collapsed in February and UMNO joined a new government, Najib expressed confidence that the series of trials would go his way.

That confidence turned out to be out of place.

This first criminal conviction of such a high-ranking political figure must now damage his standing in the UMNO and will improve the public image of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin - once a close colleague and steadfast representative of the UMNO, who died in 2016 over his objections to the 1MDB scandal was released.

He is now leading a fragile coalition with a wafer-thin parliamentary majority and is pushing Malaysia into unusually troubled political waters.

What else is Najib accused of?

The former prime minister was cleared of all allegations made by the Malaysian authorities while he was still in office.

However, the allegations played a large role in his 2018 election defeat - and the new government quickly reopened the investigation into the 1MDB case.

While Tuesday's judgments were the first, they may not have been the most significant.

A separate process that began last August deals with allegations that the former prime minister illegally received 2.28 billion ringgit ($ 550 million, £ 448 million) from 1MDB between 2011 and 2014.

He has faced 21 cases of money laundering and four cases of abuse of power, but again denies any wrongdoing.

His wife, Rosmah Mansor, is also facing charges of money laundering and tax evasion, of which she has pleaded not guilty.