Crime & Courts

Najib fails in bid to halt 1MDB corruption trial

PUTRAJAYA: Datuk Seri Najib Razak failed in his bid to halt his corruption trial for misappropriating funds belonging to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

The Court of Appeal today dismissed Najib's application to seek a stay in the proceedings pending his appeal to recuse the presiding judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah.

A three-member bench appellate court led by Datuk Hadhariah Syed Ismail ruled there were no special circumstances to allow Najib's application.

"We are of the view that public interest demands that the case proceeds.

"It (the trial) is already at an advanced stage, as 46 witnesses have testified with 173 days of trial.

"There is no compelling reason to grant a stay," she said.

Counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah represented Najib while Deputy Public Prosecutor Kamal Baharin Omar appeared for the prosecution team.

Meanwhile, Shafee when met after the hearing said they would file a fresh application to stay the proceedings at the Federal Court soon.

Last week, Sequerah dismissed Najib's application to recuse him over his relationship with former 1MDB general counsel Jasmine Loo Ai Swan.

Sequerah in his ruling said there had been no communication between them since Loo left the firm 15 years ago.

He said there was no nexus between the issues in this trial and the past relationship between him and his former partner in legal practice.

Loo's name was heavily mentioned during Najib's ongoing trial for allegedly misappropriating RM2.3 billion from 1MDB.

It was reported that she was among the proxies working with fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low to misappropriate millions of ringgit from the fund.

Sequerah also dismissed Najib lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah's application to stay the proceedings pending appeal at the Court of Appeal.

Najib, 70, is facing four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.

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