Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has been presented with a bankruptcy notice for failing to pay over $400 million in unpaid taxes.
Najib characterized the move as an effort to derail his political career in a Facebook post late Tuesday.
The 67-year-old, who lost a historic election in 2018, is accused of stealing billions of dollars from the 1MDB state fund and faces scores of corruption and money laundering charges.
He has denied guilt and filed a court appeal on Monday to get his conviction and 12-year prison term in a 1MDB-related case overturned.
Last year, a Malaysian court ordered Najib, who is still free on bail and a member of parliament, to pay 1.69 billion ringgit ($410 million) in unpaid taxes accrued when he was in office, including fines and interest, between 2011 and 2017.
Najib said on Facebook that he received a bankruptcy notice from the Inland Revenue Board on Monday, shortly after his appeal hearing, for an unpaid tax bill.
The timing of the note, he said, was related to his political party, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), deciding last month to stop coordinating with Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s government in upcoming elections.
Najib has claimed that if he is declared bankrupt, he will lose his seat in parliament and will be unable to run for election.
“I will not bow to individuals who abuse the laws of this country to oppress me on the basis of politics and greed to cling to power,” he said, adding that he had asked his lawyers to obtain a stay order on the notice.
A request for comment to Muhyiddin’s office was not immediately returned.
The revenue board’s spokesperson also declined to comment.
After the previous coalition government headed by veteran leader Mahathir Mohamad fell apart last year, UMNO suddenly returned to power as part of a coalition that appointed Muhyiddin to become Prime Minister.
Despite the allegations against him, and despite the fact that he is no longer the leader of UMNO, Najib has regained popularity and maintains an active social media presence, especially on Facebook, where he has more than any other Malaysian politician.