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Judge Orders Malaysian Ex-PM to Settle $397M in Unpaid Taxes

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, center, walks out from the courtroom at the court house in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for his corruption trial, Dec. 3, 2019.

A Malaysian court ordered former Prime Minister Najib Razak on Wednesday to pay $397 million in unpaid taxes accumulated while he was still in office, the national newswire Bernama reported.

Citing the taxes amassed by Najib between 2011 and 2017, High Court Judge Ahmad Bache said former premiers are not exempt from paying taxes. Tax authorities filed the suit last June.

Najib also faces 42 charges of criminal breach of trust, graft, abuse of power and money laundering in relation to the multibillion-dollar 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MBD) scandal.

Malaysian authorities say about $4.5 billion was stolen from 1MDB, a state fund Najib co-founded, between 2009 and 2015. Authorities say over $1 billion flowed into Najib’s personal bank accounts.

The ex-prime minister has denied wrongdoing.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court judge set July 28 to issue his verdict for Najib in the 14-month 1MDB scandal trial. If convicted, he faces multiple years in prison.

Najib and his party, United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), were ousted from power in 2018 general elections amid the 1MDB scandal, ending the UMNO’s six-decade control of the government. Two years after the historic election, however, the party regained power in March when UMNO-backed Muhyiddin Yassin became the new prime minister.