Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak is facing more than two dozen new charges related to the 1MDB embezzlement scandal, which led to the stunning defeat of his ruling party in May.
Prosecutors charged Najib with four counts of corruption and 21 counts of money laundering during a court appearance Thursday, one day after he was arrested for a third time in the case. He is accused of funneling $681 million dollars from the 1MDB state investment fund into his personal bank account. Najib pleaded not guilty to the new charges during Thursday's hearing. He previously said the money was a donation from the Saudi royal family.
Najib is now facing a total of 32 charges in the embezzlement scandal. The earlier charges include criminal breach of trust, corruption and money laundering involving claims that he transferred about $10 million of funds from a subsidiary of 1MDB into his bank accounts.
Najib had pleaded not guilty to the earlier charges.
The scandal led to the stunning electoral victory by a coalition led by 93-year-old Mahathir over Najib's National Front coalition, which had ruled Malaysia uninterrupted since gaining independence in 1957 - 22 of those years under Mahathir himself.
Since his ouster, Najib has been barred from leaving Malaysia and questioned by the government's anti-graft agency along with his wife, Rosmah Mansor. Police have also seized nearly $275 million dollars in cash, jewelry and luxury handbags in raids on properties linked to Najib.