Malaysia's ex-PM Najib Razak takes stand in 1MDB trial

Former Malaysian leader Najib Razak took the stand to defend his conduct in the 1MDB scandal on Tuesday, as the first of several trials linked to the multi-billion-dollar fraud entered a crucial stage.

Huge sums were stolen from sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad, allegedly by the ex-prime minister and his cronies, and spent on everything from high-end real estate to artwork.

His coalition was ousted at the polls last year after six decades in power, largely due to public anger over 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 in April over the controversy, in a case centring on the transfer of 42 million ringgit ( 10.1 million) from a former 1MDB unit into his bank accounts.

Najib denies any wrongdoing.

The High Court ruled the trial should proceed on the strength of the prosecution case, with Najib's team now set to present his side of the story.