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Wife Of Previous Prime Minister Charged With 2 Counts Of Graft

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Wife Of Previous Prime Minister Charged With 2 Counts Of Graft

Malaysia on Thursday accused Rosmah Mansor, the wife of former Prime Minister, Najib Razak, of soliciting and receiving bribes involving a sum of 45.12 million dollars to help a company secure a government project.

Najib and his wife, who has faced criticism for her extravagant lifestyle, are at the centre of a wide-ranging graft investigation launched by Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, who was returned to power by a stunning election victory in May.

Since his defeat, Najib has been charged with 38 counts of graft, mostly over a multi-billion-dollar corruption scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Rosmah was charged with 17 money laundering offences in October.

Najib and Rosmah have pleaded not guilty to all charges.

On Thursday, Rosmah was charged with two additional counts of corruption.

Prosecutors said Rosmah sought a bribe of 187.5 million ringgit (45 million dollars) in 2016 from an executive of Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd to help it win a solar project worth 1.25 billion ringgit (298 million dollars) in schools in the eastern state of Sarawak, on the island of Borneo.

The second charge involves a bribe of 1.5 million ringgit (358,000 dollars) that she received from the same company official in 2017, prosecutors said.

Rosmah pleaded not guilty to both the charges, which carry a jail sentence of up to 20 years each and a fine of at least five times the amount.

Jepak Holdings said in 2017 it won the solar contract from the education ministry.

A spokeswoman for Jepak Holdings declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

Following Mahathir’s election victory, Najib and Rosmah, 66, were barred from leaving the country, and properties linked to them have been raided.

Malaysians have been outraged by the seizure of around 275 million dollars worth of cash and goods, such as expensive handbags, jewelry and watches, from such properties.

Other officials close to the couple have also been arrested and charged since May.

Rizal Mansor, a former aide, was charged on Thursday with soliciting and receiving bribes for himself and on behalf of Rosmah over the solar project.

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Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, a former minister in Najib’s cabinet, was charged with corruption involving a sum of 3 million ringgit.

He also pleaded not guilty.

In October, Malaysia charged its former treasury chief with criminal breach of trust over the 1MDB investigation.

The 1MDB scandal was one of the major reasons for Najib’s election defeat.

The fund is the subject of corruption and money-laundering investigations in at least six countries.

U.S. authorities say 4.5 billion dollars was siphoned from 1MDB and about 700 million dollars was diverted into Najib’s personal bank accounts. He has denied any wrongdoing.

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