Goyal has been in ED custody since September 1 under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and is currently lodged in Mumbai's Arthur Road jail.
Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s first trial linked to the corruption charges in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal will proceed after a judge ruled on Monday that the prosecutors had made a sufficient case. Boosting efforts to bring him to justice over the mammoth fraud in which vast sums were plundered from sovereign wealth fund 1MDB allegedly involving former prime minister Najib and his cronies, which has triggered investigations around the world.
His coalition was ousted at the polls last year after six decades in power largely due to the scandal, and he has since been arrested and hit with dozens of charges linked to the looting of the investment vehicle.
The 66-year-old went on trial for the first time in April over the controversy, in a case centering on the transfer of 42 million ringgit ($10.1 million) from a former 1MDB unit into his bank account. Najib denies any wrongdoing.
Kuala Lumpur High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali ordered Najib to present his case as prosecution established cases on all seven charges against him, three charges of criminal breach of trust (CBT), one count of abusing his position and three counts of money laundering related to SRC International funds, a former subsidiary of 1MDB, Xinhua news agency reported.
“A prima facie case has been made out in each of the charges. As such I now call upon the accused to enter defence to all charges,” said the judge.
“The accused had enormous and overarching influence” over the 1MDB unit, SRC International, the judge told the court, adding the prosecution had established Najib has a case to answer for all seven charges he is facing.
“It was under the control of the accused from day one. The accused wielded considerable power.”
The alternative would have been to strike out the charges in the case, although Najib is still facing several other cases linked to 1MDB, with his biggest trial over the scandal having opened in August.
Najib, who remains out on bail, was in court for the decision and hung his head as the ruling was read out. The judge previously set dates in December for Najib to enter his defence if the prosecutors’ case was deemed strong enough.
In their closing submissions last month, prosecutors argued that Najib acted like an “emperor” in overseeing massive graft at the former 1MDB unit. His defence team, however, had said that the bulk of evidence does not lead to “any finding of culpability” on Najib’s part.
The amounts involved in Najib’s first trial are small, however, compared to those in his second and most significant one, which centres on allegations he illicitly obtained over $500 million from 1MDB. US authorities, who are investigating the fund as money was allegedly laundered through the American financial system, believe $4.5 billion was looted from 1MDB. He has pledged not guilty to all the charges.The defense trial is expected to commence from December 3.