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Former Malaysian PM faces new corruption probe after election defeat

17 May 2018

Malaysian police visited former Prime Minister Najib Razak's house late Wednesday, reportedly searching for documents as part of a renewed probe into a massive corruption scandal involving a state investment fund that is being investigated overseas.

A lawyer for Mr Najib, who was ousted from office in last week's general election, said Malaysian police seized handbags and other personal items from Mr Najib's home in connection with a money-laundering probe.

Once Dr Mahathir's protege, Mr Najib has denied any wrongdoing.

Amar Singh, the director of police commercial crime investigations, told Reuters that five places linked to Najib were being searched, including the family home in an upmarket Kuala Lumpur district.

The search at the family home was continuing at 10am today, almost 12 hours after a dozen armed policemen first entered the premises.

In the hours before the raid, Najib went to a mosque for special prayers ahead of the Islamic holy month Ramadan, which begins Thursday in Malaysia.

However, no documents were taken, according to Najib's lawyer Harpal Singh Grewal. "Nothing serious. About two, three boxes" of them, Harpal said.

More than a dozen police vehicles, including SUVs, sedans and a police truck were seen outside Najib's house in a high-end neighbourhood here around 10.30 p.m. on Wednesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

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Almost $700 million was reportedly found in Najib's personal bank accounts, which a royal Saudi family member said was a personal donation.

He said the Government is also committed to repaying any debts linked to the fund that it has guaranteed.

Since last week's election, which saw the opposition alliance take power for the first time in history, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has made it clear he will investigate missing funds from the state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), which Najib set up in 2009.

Mahathir, who ruled from 1981 to 2003, came out of retirement to spearhead the anti-Najib campaign and has found himself back in the country's top post.

Dr Mahathir said the Government will seek to retrieve billions of dollars laundered from 1MDB to repay government debts that have piled up over the years.

And Mahathir announced that attorney general Mohamed Apandi Ali had been sent on leave after he reported for work on Monday and would be temporarily replaced by the solicitor general, pending the results of a police report and investigation.

The United States welcomes the release from prison and the full pardon of Malaysian political leader Anwar Ibrahim.

Anwar teamed up with Mahathir, his ally-turned-foe-turned-ally, to oust Najib.

Former Malaysian PM faces new corruption probe after election defeat