Asia

Wife of former Malaysian PM Najib charged with money laundering

Rosmah Mansor, wife of former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, arrives at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission in Putrajaya on October 3, 2018 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Ms Rosmah is known for her love of shopping and branded goods

The wife of ex-Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has been charged with money laundering and tax evasion, as part of an investigation into a massive corruption scandal.

Rosmah Mansor, who is known for her love of luxury goods and jewellery, pleaded not guilty to all 17 charges.

Her husband, Mr Najib, has been accused of pocketing $700m (£517m) from state development fund 1MDB.

Mr Najib currently faces 32 different charges in relation to 1MDB.

Ms Rosmah smiled, wave and blew kisses at the media as she arrived in a Kuala Lumpur court on Thursday.

The 66-year-old had spent a night in detention following her arrest by anti-corruption officials on Wednesday.

Bail for Ms Rosmah was set at 2m ringgit ($483,200; £373,127). Prosecutors had originally sought 10m ringgit in bail.

Mr Najib also appeared at another courtroom in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday for a separate pre-trial hearing.

1MDB, set up by Mr Najib in 2009, was meant to turn Kuala Lumpur into a financial hub and boost the economy through strategic investments.

But it started to attract negative attention in early 2015 after it missed payments for some of the $11bn it owed to banks and bondholders.

Then the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported it had seen a paper trail that allegedly traced close to $700m from the fund to Mr Najib's personal bank accounts.

Mr Najib has consistently denied taking money from 1MDB or any public funds.

The scandal was a key issue in May's elections, which Mr Najib lost to his former mentor Mahathir Mohamad.

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