In a new twist in the trials of Najib Razak , anti-corruption authorities have revealed recorded conversations they say took place between the disgraced former Malaysian premier and various key figures in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) global financial scandal – including the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and various high-ranking Malaysian officials. The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) described the nine recordings as “shocking” and said they indicated “criminal conspiracy at the highest level” after playing them at a press conference on Wednesday. “This is of public interest and affects national security. From our own expertise, we can see this is abuse of power, criminal conspiracy and compromising national security,” said MACC chief Latheefa Koya. The calls allegedly took place between Najib – who is currently facing more than 40 charges of graft and abuse of power in court – and former anti-corruption officials, his private secretary, and his wife Rosmah Mansor, who is also facing corruption charges. Najib Razak tampered with 1MDB evidence, court told The recordings were from conversations that took place between January and July 2016 – the period during which the United States Department of Justice launched its investigation into 1MDB. The Justice Department recently reached a settlement with fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low , related to the sovereign wealth fund, which was robbed of billions. The MACC received the recordings just after January 1 and decided to release them to the media after verifying their authenticity, Latheefa said. She declined to say how the commission had obtained the clips. They include audio of Najib purportedly asking Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan for a favour for the former prime minister’s stepson Riza Aziz – who is also facing charges – to avoid the risk of being accused of money laundering. “At the moment [Riza] is under a bit of pressure in America. I’m worried about him in case they make him the scapegoat,” said one recording, with the speaker saying the money had to appear as a legitimate loan agreement. “I don’t want him to be a victim when he was totally unaware about the source of the money.” Najib takes Islamic oath to deny claims he ordered Altantuyaa ’s killing Riza, whose Los Angeles-based firm Red Granite Pictures produced the 2013 Academy Award-nominated film The Wolf of Wall Street , was named in Justice Department investigations that claimed the film had been bankrolled by tens of millions of dollars diverted from the 1MDB fund. In another call, which the MACC said was between Najib and his wife Rosmah, a woman can be heard berating a man for looking like a “villain”. “Darling, you are the prime minister, you should take charge, not anybody else OK?” she said. Several top Malaysian officials were mentioned in the recording, while the man said “the Chinese side is moving very slowly”, adding that he would “speak to Amhari”. Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin is Najib’s former special officer who in September told the courts Najib had sent him on a “secret mission” to Beijing in July 2016 to broker a slew of infrastructure deals, including rail projects and gas pipelines with Chinese state-owned corporations, in return for help paying 1MDB’s debts. Leaked files show Umno used Cambridge Analytica to influence voters in 2013 polls In an immediate response, Najib said he was looking into the content of the recordings and referring the matter to his lawyers. “Such things were never done in the history of the country,” he said after testifying in one of his trials today. Najib and his wife fell from grace after shock election results in May 2018 saw his ruling Barisan Nasional coalition ousted by the current Pakatan Harapan administration. Soon after the new government was formed, Najib made an attempt to flee the country but was stopped at the airport. Subsequent raids on the politician’s homes saw millions of dollars in luxury handbags and jewellery wheeled out, including scores of Hermes Birkin tote bags (which cost between US$12,000 and US$300,000) belonging to Rosmah. Najib, who was defeated by his former mentor Mahathir Mohamad in the polls, faces the prospect of spending the rest of his life in jail if he is convicted of just a handful of the 42 charges – ranging from corruption and abuse of power to money laundering – that have been filed against him. The corruption allegations against Najib were what originally prompted 94-year-old Mahathir, a former prime minister, to quit Barisan Nasional and join the opposition. The 1MDB scandal first emerged in 2015 when a handful of media outlets reported on its debilitating losses. Najib had set up the fund in 2009, ostensibly for the strategic investment of state funds. The US Department of Justice upped the ante in 2016 when it filed civil-forfeiture complaints seeking to recover assets worth more than a billion dollars following what it claimed were fraudulent transactions – some passing through the American financial system – in which Malaysian officials and conspirators had diverted 1MDB funds to their private accounts. It did not name Najib but referred to a “Malaysian Official 1” as an interested party in the case – at the time this was widely accepted to be a reference to Najib, though he and his closest allies denied it. The siphoned funds, totalling some US$4.5 billion according to the US and up to US$7 billion according to Mahathir’s officials, were allegedly used to purchase designer jewellery and handbags, paintings by Monet and Basquiat, and throw A-list celebrity parties.