SINGAPORE (Dec 17): Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak and former 1Malaysia Development Bhd chief Arul Kanda Kandasamy have claimed trial to charges brought against them. They have been accused of tampering with the audit report on the troubled state investment fund.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission held Arul Kanda overnight after his arrest on Dec 11. Arul Kanda, who helmed 1MDB from January 2015 to June this year, has pleaded not guilty to the charge of abetting Najib in tampering with the audit report. He is out on bail of RM500,000 ($163,880).

Najib has also pleaded not guilty to the charge of abusing his position as prime minister in order to avoid a civil or criminal action, after he allegedly ordered the audit report on 1MDB to be altered. Najib’s bail was initially set at RM1 million, but his lawyer Shafee Abdullah objected to it, saying it was excessive compared with Arul Kanda’s bail. Shafee pointed out that Najib had already paid a RM5.5 million bail in relation to earlier charges and that bail should not be oppressive. Sessions Judge Azura Alwi subsequently lowered Najib’s bail amount to RM500,000.

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