In the latest crackdown on corruption in Malaysia, former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has been charged with 45 offenses including money laundering and graft, Reuters reported on Friday.
The charges include 10 counts of criminal breach of trust and eight counts of abuse of power involving sums totaling US$10 million, and 27 counts of laundering about $17.3 million.
Ahmad Zahid allegedly used his position to receive bribes in exchange for helping companies win contracts for government contracts. He is also accused of misusing funds from his family-run charity foundation. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Meanwhile, his former boss, ousted prime minister Najib Razak, is also denying graft charges against him, but related to a multibillion-dollar scandal at the state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
Ahmad Zahid now leads the opposition as head of the once-powerful United Malays National Organization, which ruled the country for 60 years before losing elections held in May.
The new prime minister, the nonagenarian Mahathir Mohamad, who served as prime minister from 1981 to 2003 and then also headed UMNO, broke with his old party and was swept to power in a stunning defeat of the old regime.
Najib’s trial is due to begin next year.