Netflix Documentary on Multibillion-Dollar Fraud Scandal Sparks Legal Battle in Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – A lawyer representing former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has demanded that Netflix remove a documentary about a multibillion-dollar fraud scandal that occurred under his administration. Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who is leading the defense counsel for Najib, argued that the documentary, titled “Man on the Run,” is “sub judice and contemptuous.” The film, released on Netflix in January, chronicles the 1MDB state fund scandal, which is considered one of the largest financial frauds in the world.

The documentary sheds light on how the 1MDB fund, initially established to promote development, became embroiled in allegations of fraudulent activities. The US Department of Justice has accused individuals and corporations of diverting billions of dollars from the fund to finance lavish purchases such as luxury yachts, hotels, art, and even Hollywood films.

The scandal had far-reaching consequences, leading to the defeat of Najib’s Umno party, which had held power for 61 years. The incident also triggered investigations in multiple countries. Najib himself was convicted in 2022 on corruption charges related to the 1MDB scandal, making him the first former Malaysian leader to be imprisoned.

According to local media reports, Muhammad Shafee urged the deputy public prosecutor to watch the documentary and hold discussions with other officials to consider its removal. He further expressed that the attorney general has a duty to take action. Additionally, Najib reportedly intends to file a contempt of court application and defamation suit against former Malaysian attorney general Tommy Thomas and British journalist Clare Rewcastle Brown, who made comments in the film. Rewcastle Brown played a significant role in exposing the 1MDB scandal.

Netflix has not yet issued a response to the lawyer’s demand. Najib continues to face various other cases related to alleged abuse of power and money laundering.

In conclusion, Netflix is facing calls from Najib Razak’s lawyer to remove a documentary about the 1MDB scandal, which took place during his administration. The lawyer argues that the film is prejudicial to ongoing cases and should be taken down. The scandal rocked Malaysian politics, resulting in Najib’s party losing power after decades of rule. The former prime minister is currently serving a prison sentence for corruption charges related to the scandal.