Malaysia's toppled leader Najib Razak was arrested Wednesday and will be charged over allegations that $628 million linked to state investment fund 1MDB ended up in his personal bank accounts, officials said.
Police have raided the residence of the mother of Najib Razak, as authorities tighten the noose against the former prime minister amid a string of fresh charges today.
The 65-year-old Pekan MP pleaded not guilty to the charges, which were read out before Judge Azura Alwi.
Officially called the 1Malaysia Development Berhad, the 1MDB state fund is the subject of a sweeping global investigation by at least six countries, including the United States, Singapore and Switzerland, over alleged money laundering and graft by high-level officials.
Azam Baki, the deputy commissioner of the anti-graft agency, said more charges could be brought against individuals.
"This is because regard has to be had to the seriousness of the offences, the number of charges", Sri Ram said, also citing at one point the United States attorney general's description of Najib's conduct as allegedly the "worst case of kleptocracy".
Najib also downplayed the latest charges against him, saying that once the public comprehends the facts and figures behind the case, they will realise that it is not such an "explosive" accusation.
The US Department of Justice had previously asserted the US$681 million that made its way into Najib's account was from Tanore, but that the funds were related to a bond issued by 1MDB in 2013. He has consistently denied any wrongdoing in relation to those chares and his trial is due to start next year.
The corruption scandal at 1MDB was uncovered in 2015 by an investigation conducted by the Wall Street Journal and the Sarawak Report portal which revealed the diversion of the 2.6 billion ringgit to his private accounts.
The commission also confirmed that the former prime minister is being investigated over a controversial RM2.6 billion donation banked into his personal account, supposedly from a Saudi Arabian royal in 2014.
He was accused of receiving illegal transfers to his own accounts from the fund totalling almost 2.3 billion ringgit ($555 million).
But Najib has come under close scrutiny since the election defeat to his former mentor.
Following Mr Najib's election loss, police seized a vast trove of items - including expensive handbags and jewellery - from properties linked to him with an estimated value of up to US$273 million.