Former Malaysian leader Mahathir Mohamad has filed a lawsuit against Prime Minister Najib Razak, accusing him of corruption and abuse of power.
The civil suit filed in a Kuala Lumpur court seeks approximately US$700 million in total damages, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The case stems from investigations into the state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd, or 1MDB, set up in 2009 to invest in strategic projects.
Reacting to the lawsuit, the Malaysia Ministry of Communication and Multimedia accused Mahathir of “clutching at straws” in a bit to topple Najib from the country’s top post.
“His accusations are false, so he will fail yet again,” the ministry said in a statement.
Pressure on the prime minister has grown since the WSJ reported last year that government investigators had found that hundreds of millions of dollars had entered his personal bank accounts via banks, companies and other entities linked to 1MDB.
Najib has denied wrongdoing or taking money for personal gain. 1MDB has also denied wrongdoing or paying any funds to the prime minister’s personal accounts.
The attorney general has said the funds in Najib’s personal accounts were a legal personal donation from Saudi Arabia and most of the money was returned.
Mahathir accused Najib in the lawsuit of the “corrupt practice of carrying out various steps that were actively and deliberately taken in bad faith … to obstruct, interfere, impede and derail the various investigations and inquiries which were being conducted by various legal enforcement agencies”, Reuters reported.
He also accused Najib of destroying “the rule of law and the sanctity of the provision of our federal constitution”, the news agency said.
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