Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak leaving the KL Court Complex. - NSTP/Zunnur Al Shafiq

KUALA LUMPUR: “I am not a thief.”

Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak made this strong declaration after he was charged with 25 counts of money laundering and abuse of power involving the transaction of funds allegedly linked to sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

The former prime minister said the impending trial would provide him with the best opportunity to clear his name.

“As we all know, the issue of RM2.6 billion has been widely used to slander and tarnish my name and I hope by the current development, I can prove to the public that I am not a thief.

“I hope the trial will clear and wipe out this issue (RM2.6 billion),” he said in a press conference at the court lobby today, referring to the amount he maintained was a donation from the Saudi royal family.

The Pekan MP said the 25 charges was not something 'shocking' as it could be categorised into three stages.

“The first stage related to me receiving the illegal proceeds; second related to using illegal proceeds; and third, transferring the proceeds to other entities,” he said.

Najib said he had returned most of the funds to the same account that gave the money to him after the previous 13th General Election in 2013.

“Hopefully, we can see the truth after the trial,” Najib said, adding that he did not know whether his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor would be charged soon.

Najib also thanked the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for the treatment he received during the investigation period.

“I did not sleep in the lockup room.. I was inside the MACC’s building.”

When asked about his chances of winning the case, Najib said he believed that the rule of law would prevail and would prove that he was innocent.

“I accept my fate that I need to face this trial.

“There are people who are luckier than me as his charges were dropped,” Najib said, referring to Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s charges which were recently dropped.

On a separate matter, Najib was asked on the resignation of Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed from Unmo.

“I will call him later and ask about his resignation. If he is willing to tell me the truth, I will issue a statement later,” he said.

Najib remarked that Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) members should remain strong and loyal to the party during this challenging period.

“This is the time we give full commitment and show our loyalty to Umno,” he said.

Najib earlier pleaded not guilty to all charges before Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi.

His first four charges were under Section 23 (1) and 24 (1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 while the other 21 charges were under Section 4 (1) (a) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001 (AMLATFA).

In the charges under the MACC Act, Najib, 64, was accused of using his then position as prime minister, finance minister and chairman of the 1MDB advisory board, to receive bribes on four occasions.

Meanwhile the money-laundering charges include nine counts of receiving illegal proceeds, five counts of using illegal proceeds and seven counts of transferring the proceeds to other entities.

All the offences allegedly occurred at AmIslamic Bank Bhd's Jalan Raja Chulan branch in Bukit Ceylon, here, between Feb 24, 2011 and Dec 19, 2014.

Early last month, Najib was charged with three counts of money laundering under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLATFPUAA).

He also had four other earlier charges amended with regard to the RM42 million from SRC International found in his personal account.

The three deposits, amounting to RM27 million, RM5 million and RM10 million, were found to have been wired into his AmIslamic Bank account between Dec 26, 2014, and Feb 10, 2015.