Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak appeared in court in Kuala Lumpur in the past week
on allegations of stealing approximately US$4.5 billion from the country’s development fund called 1 MDB. Razak is facing 42 criminal charges including corruption and money laundering. If these allegations are true, this would make Razak one of the most notorious embezzlers among state leaders.
While a definite list of the biggest embezzlers among state leaders
might never exist and most allegations might never be cleared up, Transparency International has published a list of some state heads thought to be the worst embezzlers since the 1980s.
The NGO recently followed up with another list
of major crime cases involving heads of state. Among these, former Ukrainian president and prime minister Viktor Yanukovych is the one which faces the most serious allegations. He and his associates are thought to have embezzled close to US$40 billion over the course of Yanukovych’s time in office, which lasted, with interruptions, from 2002 to 2014.
Another notorious case is former Indonesian president Mohamed Suharto, who stood trial for corruption and embezzlement in the late 1990s but who was let off the hook for health reasons in 2000 and died in 2008. He is thought to have embezzled US$25 billion between 1967 and 1998.