Charges are 'a test from God', says Zahid

Umno president Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi gestures as he leaves the Kuala Lumpur High Court Complex after his court hearing

Ahmad Zahidi was also accused of misusing funds from his family-run charity foundation.

It added that he faces several charges under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 and the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.

Umno supreme council member Lokman Noor Adam revealed the arrest at the MACC headquarters in Putrajaya yesterday in a Facebook post: "Datuk Seri Zahid informed me that he was arrested upon his arrival at MACC headquarters".

Dr Ahmad Zahid's wife, Hamidah Khamis and daughter Nurul Hidayah were among those present.

Najib, who local media reported was at court on Friday to give "moral support" to his former deputy, has denied any wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty to 32 criminal charges involving more than 2.3 billion ringgit ($553m) allegedly siphoned from the fund. Rosmah has pleaded not guilty to 17 money-laundering offences.

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The anti-graft agency said Zahid was detained at its office shortly after he was summoned as part of its probe into abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money laundering at a welfare group.

Coincidentally, Najib also made a return to MACC - the second time this week - said to answer questions on 1MDB's dealings with Abu Dhabi's state-owned International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC).

Some UMNO leaders urged party members to rally behind Zahid.

The UMNO quickly came to the defense of Ahmad Zahid, who was elected as party chief after May's polls, and said the arrest was politically motived.

Graft investigators have had four questioning sessions with Dr Ahmad Zahid, the first on July 3, followed by three interviews last week on Oct 10, 11 and 12, with each lasting more than eight hours. "Please pray for him", she said.

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