Jailed Malaysian ex-PM Najib makes legal bid to serve sentence under house arrest

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak waves to photographers at Kuala Lumpur
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KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Jailed former Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak has filed a judicial review application seeking to obtain a document that he said would allow him to serve his jail sentence under house arrest, court filings showed on Wednesday.

Najib, who was convicted of graft over the multibillion-dollar 1MDB scandal, had his 12-year jail sentence halved in February by a pardons board chaired by Malaysia's then king, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah, whose five-year reign ended in January.

In an April 1 application to a Malaysian High Court, Najib said he had received clear information on an "addendum order" issued by the king accompanying the pardon's board decision that would entitle him to serve his remaining six years under house arrest, according to the filings available on the court's website.

Najib is seeking for the court to compel the government to reply on or confirm the existence of the royal order, and to execute its order if it exists, the filings said.

The office of the attorney-general, a member of the pardons board, and the palace of Pahang, the home state of the former king, did not immediately respond to requests for comment and clarification. Najib's lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court will hear Najib's application on Thursday.

Najib was found guilty in 2020 of criminal breach of trust and abuse of power for illegally receiving funds misappropriated from a unit of state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). The verdict was upheld by Malaysia's top court in 2022.

About $4.5 billion was allegedly stolen from 1MDB, with around $1 billion flowing into the accounts of Najib, Malaysian and U.S. investigators have said.

The pardons board in February said Najib is expected to be released in August 2028, six years after he began serving his sentence. It also reduced fines imposed on the ex-premier, sparking uproar in Malaysia.

Najib is also considering filing a new petition for a full pardon.

(Reporting by Danial Azhar and Rozanna Latiff; Editing by Martin Petty)