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Wife of Malaysian ex-PM charged with money-laundering

Rosmah Mansor spent the night in detention and pleaded not guilty to all charges on Wednesday.

The wife of former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak was charged with 17 offences, including money-laundering, as anti-graft agents investigate billions of dollars missing from state coffers.

The charges on Thursday against Rosmah Mansor were read out by prosecutors at a Kuala Lumpur court.

She was arrested on Tuesday by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and spent the night in detention. She pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Lead prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram told the court Rosmah "had approached a witness with a request to give a statement in her favour".

Prosecutors sought $2.4m in ball and seized her passport, asking the court to bar her from contacting any witnesses.

"I think these charges are highly significant," said James Chin from the University of Tasmania's Asia Institute. "This is the first time the wife of prime minister of Malaysia has been charged with corruption."

Chin said the charges against Rosmah, 66, will likely be well received by many in the Southeast Asian nation.

"A lot of people don't like her because there were many reports of her spending money lavishly oversees. There were many reports of her making political decisions on behalf of her husband," he told Al Jazeera.

Najib - who also making a court appearance on Thursday - faces 32 charges ranging from money laundering to abuse of power and criminal breach of trust in the effort to uncover how billions of dollars missing from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

He has denied any wrongdoing.

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