Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has been charged with three new counts of money laundering involved in the multi-billion-dollar scandal of the state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Najib, 65, was previously charged with three counts of criminal breach of trust and one count of abuse of power over the transfer of 42 million ringgit, or 10 million USD, from SRC International, a subsidiary of 1MDB to his personal bank accounts between August 2011 and March 2015 when he served as Minister of Finance and Prime Minister. Each count carries a fine and a sentence of up to 20 years in prison. But he pleaded not guilty to all seven charges against him.

The former PM appeared at the second hearing in Kuala Lumpur on August 8, looking tired. He was just summoned by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for questioning which lasted 45 minutes a day before.

After the fresh charges were read out, the judge declared to transfer his case to the High Court and continued to let him out bail for the additional charges.

Najib founded the 1MDB investment fund in 2009, supposedly to serve Malaysia’s development through global partnerships and foreign direct investment.

However, it became the centre of a money laundering scandal, allegedly causing losses of up to 3.7 billion USD and leading to probes into the financial markets in several countries such as the US, Switzerland, Singapore, Malaysia and China.

Najib and his wife were first questioned about the 42-million-ringgit transfer shortly after he was defeated in the national election in May. They were later barred from leaving the country.

From the raids on several of his family’s properties in Kuala Lumpur, police seized assets worth up to 273 million USD.

His trial is scheduled to begin in February next year.-VNA