Malaysia’s anti-graft agency arrests wife of ex-PM Najib

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Rosmah Mansor, wife of Malaysia's former Prime Minister Najib Razak, leaves a courtroom in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia July 4, 2018. REUTERS/Lai Seng Sin/Files

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysia’s anti-graft agency arrested former first lady Rosmah Mansor and expects to charge her in court today with money-laundering, among other infringements, it said.

Ms Rosmah, the wife of former prime minister Najib Razak, was detained after being questioned by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), it added.

Her arrest yesterday follows three rounds of questioning by anti-graft agents over state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), from which US authorities say more than $4.5 billion was misappropriated. Last Wednesday, she was questioned for nearly 13 hours.

Ms Rosmah, 66, traditional Malay clothing in lime green and accompanied by her lawyers during yesterday’s questioning.

The agency did not say if the charges against her are related to 1MDB. Lawyers for Ms Rosmah had earlier said she had been arrested and that she would face money laundering charges.

Mr Najib himself faced questioning yesterday by the anti-money laundering and anti-terror financing division of Malaysia’s police over a money laundering inquiry, media said.

Mr Najib, whose coalition suffered a stunning election defeat in May, faces 32 charges ranging from money laundering to abuse of power and criminal breach of trust in the effort to uncover how billions of dollars went missing from 1MDB.

The couple’s world has been turned upside down since Mr Najib lost the election to his one-time mentor Mahathir Mohamad, who swiftly reopened a probe into 1MDB.

Corruption accusations have dogged Mr Najib for years, and came to a head in 2015, when the Wall Street Journal reported that nearly $700 million in 1MDB funds was diverted to his personal bank account.

Ms Rosmah has long been in the public eye over her penchant for handbags, jewellery and shopping sprees.

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