Lawmaker Sentenced to Jail for 1MDB Leak

1MDB, Rafizi Ramli, Najib Razak, corruption, secrecy breach

Rafizi Ramli, Malaysia lawmaker

A Malaysian opposition lawmaker was sentenced to 18 months in jail for leaking data on state fund 1MDB to media. The decision highlights that U.S. investigators will have to navigate Malaysian domestic politics.

1MDB and Malaysia have repeatedly denied wrong-doing in the corruption allegations, which reach the highest echelons of the country's government. Two Swiss banks in Singapore have been shut down for dealing with 1MDB and several more including UBS reprimanded and a host of bankers face trial.

Opposition lawmaker Rafizi Ramli was sentenced to jail for breaching secrecy laws by releasing a classified report on 1MDB to the media, according to «The Wall Street Journal».

Rafizi's sentencing isn't the first indication that Malaysia isn't interested in complete transparency over the issue: the country's own probe was criticized as perfunctory and Swiss officials have complained about Malaysia's repeated lack of judicial cooperation in the probe.

Rafizi was stoic on Twitter about the verdict, which he is appealing, and defended his actions as those of a whistleblower. He had been accused of passing on to media an excerpt from a government audit of the case. 

Prime Minister Najib Razak, his family and close associated are accused of pilfering 1MDB funds and and buying jewelry, clothing and real estate abroad and to help finance blockbuster «The Wolf of Wall Street». Najib, who hasn't been named in U.S. documents related to the case but can be identified by a description, has denied the allegations and said he has done nothing wrong in connection with the fund.

 

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