Malaysia’s attorney-general drops sex-video case; minister denounces plot

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysia’s attorney general on Thursday declined to prosecute anyone linked to a series of leaked videos purportedly showing the economic affairs minister having sex with a man.

The minister, Azmin Ali, had denied links to the videos first circulated online in June, saying they were a plot to end his political career.

Sodomy is a crime in Malaysia and in the past, Anwar Ibrahim, who Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has named as his successor, spent about a decade in jail under the law.

Anwar rejected the charges that he said were politically motivated and came after he had fallen out with Mahathir in the late 1990s.

The latest scandal had deepened rifts within the ruling coalition as Azmin, a senior cabinet member, has been regarded as a possible challenger for the premiership promised to Anwar.

Attorney General Tommy Thomas said in a statement the videos had been reviewed for authenticity and facial recognition by Malaysia’s cybersecurity agency, U.S. forensic experts and a private analyst.

The reviews concluded that the footage was real, but the people could not be identified due to the poor resolution and quality of the recordings, Thomas said. He did not refer to Azmin.

“My deputy public prosecutors unanimously recommended to me that no charges be proffered in connection with the videos,” Thomas said.

Azmin said the attorney-general’s decision vindicated him.

“As I have consistently maintained from the beginning, this ‘fitnah’ video is nothing but a nefarious plot to destroy my political career but whilst those intent on this vile scheme may plot and conspire, I had no doubt that justice will be done,” he said using the Malay word for “slanderous”.

(Reporting by Rozanna Latiff)