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The former first lady of Malaysia, Rosmah, is on trial for corruption

Image: Reuters Berita 24 English - Rosmah Mansor, the wife of former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Raza k, went to court on Thursday to fin...

Image: Reuters

Berita 24 English - Rosmah Mansor, the wife of former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, went to court on Thursday to find out if she was found guilty of trying to get bribes in exchange for government contracts. Her husband was just sent to jail for corruption a few days earlier.

Najib and his wife, who has been criticised for living a lavish lifestyle, are at the centre of a wide-ranging fight against corruption that started after his government was voted out in a historic election in 2018.

Malaysia's highest court upheld Najib's conviction in a case related to a multibillion-dollar graft scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad. He started serving his 12-year prison sentence last week (1MDB). He is still being tried for corruption in four other cases.

Rosmah, who is 70 years old, has pleaded not guilty to three charges that she asked for and accepted bribes between 2016 and 2017 to help a company get a $279 million solar power supply project from the government while her husband was in power.

The charges could lead to up to 20 years in prison and a fine of at least five times the amount of the bribe. However, Rosmah could ask the Kuala Lumpur High Court to hold off on sentencing until she has a chance to appeal to a higher court.

Prosecutors say Rosmah asked for a bribe of 187.5 million ringgit ($41.80 million) and got 6.5 million ringgit from an employee of the company that won the project.

Rosmah has said that her former assistant and several government and company workers involved in the project set her up.

She went to Kuala Lumpur High Court wearing a yellow baju kurung, which is a traditional long blouse and skirt from Malaysia, along with a head scarf and mask that matched.

She didn't talk to the news people.

Rosmah tried to delay the verdict at the last minute by asking the judge in charge of her case to step down. She did this in court earlier this week.

A prosecutor told Reuters that the High Court is likely to hear the case before making a decision.

In a separate case, Rosmah is also facing 17 charges of money laundering and not paying taxes because she illegally got 7.1 million ringgit between 2013 and 2017. The trial hasn't started yet because Rosmah is trying to get the judge removed from the case.

People were angry about the 1MDB scandal, which is being looked into for corruption and money laundering in at least six countries. This anger led to Najib's election loss.

The U.S. Department of Justice says that $4.5 billion were stolen from 1MDB, and about $1 billion of that went into Najib's personal bank accounts.

U.S. lawsuits say that some of the money that was stolen from 1MDB was used to buy jewellery, like a $27 million pink diamond necklace for Rosmah. Najib and Rosmah have both said that they never asked for or meant to buy the necklace.

In 2018, Malaysian police raided homes linked to the couple and took about $275 million in cash, jewellery, handbags, watches, and other luxury items.

($1 = 4.4880 ringgit)

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