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How the downfall of Malaysia’s ex-leader Najib Razak unfolded

July 2015: A report by The Wall Street Journal alleges that nearly $US700 million of 1MDB money has been channelled into Najib’s personal bank accounts. Najib denies the allegations. He fires his then-critical deputy Muhyiddin Yassin and terminates the attorney-general who was investigating him. A whistle-blowing website is blocked and two newspapers are suspended over their reporting on the scandal.

August 29-30, 2015: Thousands of Malaysians rally in Kuala Lumpur to demand Najib’s resignation.

January 26, 2016: New Attorney-General Apandi Ali clears Najib of any wrongdoing, saying the money in his bank accounts was a donation from Saudi Arabia’s royal family.

July 21, 2016: The US Justice Department initiates moves to recover over $US1 billion that investigators say was stolen from 1MDB by associates of Najib and used to buy assets.

May 9, 2018: Najib’s National Front coalition, which had ruled Malaysia since independence from Britain in 1957, loses in a general election. A reformist opposition alliance takes power, with nonagenarian Mahathir Mohamad making a comeback as prime minister for a second time.

May 10-June 2018: Najib and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, are banned from leaving the country, and the new government reopens investigations into 1MDB. Police seize cash and thousands of luxury items, from jewellery to handbags, from premises linked to Najib, worth up to 1.1 billion ringgit ($363 million).

Police guard the entrance of the court complex in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday.

Police guard the entrance of the court complex in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday.Credit:Bloomberg

July 4, 2018: Najib is charged with three counts of criminal breach of trust and one count of abusing his power.

August 8, 2018: Najib pleads not guilty to three more counts of money laundering and asks for a trial.

September 20, 2018: Najib pleads not guilty to another 25 charges of abuse of power and money laundering.


October 4, 2018: Najib’s wife, Rosmah, pleads not guilty to money-laundering and tax evasion charges.

October 25, 2018: Najib and his former treasury secretary-general jointly are charged with six counts of criminal breach of trust over government payments linked to 1MDB.

December 12, 2018: Najib pleads not guilty to a new charge of tampering with a state audit report into 1MDB, with a former 1MDB CEO accused of abetting him.

December 17, 2018: Malaysia files criminal charges against Goldman Sachs and two former executives over bond sales it organised for 1MDB.

February 8, 2019: Najib pleads not guilty to three more money-laundering charges, bringing the total charges against him to 42.

April 3, 2019: Najib’s first corruption trial starts.

July 5, 2019: Riza Aziz, Najib’s stepson and producer of The Wolf of Wall Street film, pleads not guilty to charges of laundering money belonging to 1MDB.

August 28, 2019: Najib’s second and biggest trial on 25 corruption charges starts.

November 11, 2019: The high court orders Najib to enter his defence in his first trial.

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