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SINGAPORE – Leading Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim said Tuesday a fugitive tycoon accused of ransacking a state investment fund will be given a fair trial, while hinting that more former officials could be tried on corruption charges.
U.S. prosecutors last week charged Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low, for his alleged role in an epic money laundering and bribery scheme that pilfered billions of dollars from the indebted 1MDB fund.
Attending an economic forum in Singapore, Anwar said Tuesday he was "quite pleased" with the developments in the case so far and that investigations in the U.S., Malaysia and Singapore and other places were "progressing very well."
The Malaysian government has brought multiple corruption cases against former Prime Minister Najib Razak and officials in his administration.
Because the new government has committed itself to an independent judiciary, "anyone, whether Najib or Jho Low, will have to ... be assured a guarantee of a fair trial," Anwar said.
Najib stifled investigations into 1MDB while in office but the scandal led to the ruling coalition's shocking election ouster in May. Anwar and his former political nemesis, Mahathir Mohamad, put aside their enmity to form the four-party alliance that won the elections, and Mahathir has said he will serve for two years and has designated Anwar as his successor.
Najib and his supporters have called the criminal charges against them political vengeance, and a statement on Jho Low's website from when he was charged with money laundering in August said he maintained his innocence.
Najib's wife, his former deputy, two ex-senior government officials and a former chief state minister have been already charged with corruption.
Anwar hinted Tuesday that more charges could be unveiled.
"Our position is those who have been involved in the squandering of billions from public purse must be charged and follow the due process because we need the monies stolen back," he said.
"It's not my money either. We owe it to Malaysians to make sure that we get back the funds."