Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, center, walks into a courtroom at Kuala Lumpur High Court in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Wednesday, April 3, 2019. Najib appeared in court Wednesday for the start of his corruption trial. Picture: AP Photo/Vincent Thian.

Kuala Lumpur - Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak on Wednesday arrived at a Kuala Lumpur court to face trial over his alleged involvement in the misappropriation of billions of dollars from the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) state fund.

In the current trial, Najib is facing seven charges of money laundering, criminal breach of trust and corruption for transactions totalling 10 million dollars that allegedly ended up in his personal bank account from SRC International, a subsidiary of 1MDB.

1MDB is the subject of a sweeping international probe by multiple countries - including Singapore, Switzerland and the United States - over suspicions that around 4.5 billion dollars were siphoned from the fund by high-ranking Malaysian officials. 

The former premier arrived at the Kuala Lumpur High Court dressed in a dark blue suit and navy tie and was immediately swarmed by the press and his supporters. 

He appeared to address the crowd for several minutes, before making his way into the courtroom, escorted by an entourage of policemen. 

The trial, which begins on the 10th anniversary of Najib's swearing in as prime minister in 2009, has been beset by multiple delays as his defence lawyers sought to put a stay on the trial proceedings.

During his tenure as prime minister and finance minister, Najib oversaw the 1MDB fund, which existed from 2009 until 2016, when it was found to be drowning in around 16 billion dollars' worth of debt.

Widespread anger over the perceived mishandling of public funds led to a surprise victory by the Mahathir Mohamad-led Pakatan Harapan opposition party in the 2018 general elections, toppling Najib from power and ending his party's 61-year political grip on power.

Najib, alongside his wife Rosmah Mansor, fugitive financier Low Taek Jho and several of Najib's officials and aides, have been implicated in the investigation. 

Raids at residences linked to Najib in the months following the election yielded nearly 300 million dollars worth of handbags, watches, jewellery and other luxury goods, which had been allegedly purchased with money from 1MDB. 

Since then, a total of 42 charges have been levelled against Najib. He has, however, consistently denied any wrongdoing, claiming that the charges against him are politically motivated.

dpa