Najib’s lawyers announced that they had stopped representing the former prime minister in the case, which centers around the 1MDB state fund, on Tuesday.
They did not explain the reason for the decision, but local news outlet The Malaysian Insight said they walked out because they had been unable to reach common ground with Najib on a number of issues, Presstv Reported.
Meanwhile, the former prime minister’s spouse, Rosmah Mansor, was expected to testify at the headquarters of Malaysia’s Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) later in the day regarding a suspicious transfer of nearly $10.6 million from the SRC International, a now-defunct unit of the 1MDB.
The amount represents merely a fraction of the billions of dollars allegedly withdrawn from the state fund — which Najib established — in a scandal that plagued the last three years of his nearly 10-year rule. The scandal was widely viewed as the main reason for his defeat in general elections in May.
Najib has consistently denied any wrongdoing and was acquitted in an earlier Malaysian inquiry.
Although Najib has already given a series of testimonies to anti-graft investigators, attention has now been focused on his wife after police discovered hundreds of luxury handbags and a stash of jewelry and cash during police a raid on apartments linked to the former premier and his family.
According to police authorities, 114 million ringgit (28.6 million dollars) in cash and more than 400 designer handbags as well as other items were confiscated in the raid, and experts have been brought in to assess the value of the jewelry, watches, and other seized items.
The 1MDB is also the target of money-laundering investigations in at least six other countries, including the United States, Switzerland, and Singapore.
Meanwhile, Najib has been barred from leaving the country since his unexpected loss in the elections last month.