KUALA LUMPUR: Rosmah Mansor, wife of Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak, was convicted of soliciting and receiving bribes during her husband's corruption-tainted administration on Thursday, a week after the ex-premier was imprisoned over the massive looting of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) state fund.

Rosmah was found guilty on three charges of soliciting bribes and receiving 6.5 million ringgit ($1.5 million) in 2016 and 2017 to help a company secure a project to provide solar energy panels to schools on Borneo island. She is expected to remain out on bail for her appeal to higher courts.

High Court Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan said prosecutors proved beyond reasonable doubt that Rosmah corruptly solicited bribes and received money as a reward for herself. Her defense was a bare denial, he added.

Najib began a 12-year prison term last week after losing his final appeal in one of the five graft cases against him involving the multibillion-dollar pilfering of 1MDB.

Before the verdict, the court heard Rosmah's application to disqualify Zaini after the alleged guilty judgment leaked online. Police said the leaked document was work done within the court's research unit and was not the judgment, but Rosmah's defense lawyers said they lost confidence the judge could be fair.

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Prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram said Rosmah's application was made in bad faith to delay her verdict, adding there was nothing wrong if the judge did indeed request the view of the court's research unit.

Such a system of judicial research is accepted in many countries and doesn't discredit the court nor imply any bias, he said.

Malaysia's top tribunal earlier slammed the action of the website, run by a blogger based in the United Kingdom, as "a deliberate act" to smear the court's reputation.

Last week, the same website published a document it said was the Federal Court's guilty verdict against Najib, just before the ruling was read out in court. The court has said the leaked document was a working draft of the ruling. The tribunal has filed complaints with police over both leaks.

Each of the charges against Rosmah carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of five times the amount of the bribe. The court was hearing mitigation statements on Thursday afternoon before deciding the penalty.

Najib and Rosmah have been hit with multiple counts of graft after the shocking ouster of his United Malays National Organization (UMNO) party in the 2018 elections, fueled by public anger over the 1MDB scandal. UMNO has since returned to power after defections caused the collapse of the reformist government that won the 2018 polls.

Rosmah's trial had shed light on her alleged sway in the government since her husband took office in 2009. Prosecutors said Rosmah wielded considerable influence due to her "overbearing nature," even though she held no official position. Witnesses testified that a special department, called First Lady of Malaysia, was set up to handle Rosmah's affairs.