Malaysia’s ex-premier Najib Razak had his application for a gag order on his corruption trial dismissed, a High Court judge ruled on Friday.
Najib’s lawyers had requested the Kuala Lumpur court to implement a gag order, which would have put restrictions on how the media could cover his case.
But judge Mohamad Ghazali said that existing laws sufficed.
“Those, who overstep (in reporting) risk action being taken – such as contempt of court – and these remedies are readily available,” the judge was quoted as saying by The Star news portal.
Najib’s lawyer Shafee Abdullah said the defence team would file an appeal on Aug. 13, The Star reported.
Najib pleaded not guilty after he was slapped with money laundering charges, criminal breach of trust and abuse of power in the sprawling 1MDB corruption scandal case.
Najib, who served as Malaysia’s prime minister from 2009 until May this year, has emerged as a key figure in the investigation.
Officially called the 1Malaysia Development Berhad, the 1MDB state fund is the subject of a sweeping international investigation conducted by at least six countries – including Singapore, the U.S. and Switzerland – over alleged money laundering and graft by high-level 1MDB officials.
Najib is accused of misappropriating some 4.5 billion dollars from 1MDB, including nearly 700 million dollars that were allegedly transferred into his personal bank account.
The court on Friday set the trial dates for Feb.12 to Feb. 28 and March 4 to March 29, 2019.