Rosmah Mansor, the wife of former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak reportedly went on trial on February 5 for corruption for the first time since her husband lost power. According to international media reports, Rosmah has been accused of three counts of dishonestly soliciting $1.6 million in bribes and if found guilty she will face up to 20 years in jail and a fine. The 69-year-old is also known for making overseas shopping trips and owning vast collections of handbags and jewellery.
Rosmah is reportedly also facing a separate 12 charges for money laundering and five counts of failure to declare income to the country's tax authorities, bringing the total number of charges against her to 20. Back in 2018, Rosmah's husband, Razak's long-ruling coalition suffered a shock election defeat and in large part due to claims that he and his officials plundered billions of dollars from sovereign wealth fund 1MDB. Since then the couple has been hit with multiple charges over the looting of the investment vehicle.
According to reports, Rosmah will be in the same court complex in Kuala Lumpur as her husband Razak who is allegedly charged with over 40 counts of corruption and abuse of power and whose own trial is ongoing. Rosmah pleaded not guilty two charges of corruption last year and was allowed bail as well. In the recent proceedings, she further denied all the charges.
The trial was supposed to start on Monday but was delayed after Rosmah was reportedly admitted to hospital complaining neck pain. The prosecution, however, said that she had not given a notice that she was ill and unable to attend court and Prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram said that he thinks it as an attempt to avoid attending court. Further Sri Ram also argued that her bail should be revoked.
After losing power in 2018, the authorities began investigating allegations of corruption surrounding the couple and police reportedly also launched several raids on properties linked to them. According to international media reports, police wheeled out trolleys piled with boxes including designer handbags, necklaces, watches, rings, brooches and tiaras. The police also found bundles of cash in a variety of currencies which were also seized.