THE wife of former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak has pleaded not guilty to laundering illegal proceeds linked to the corruption scandal that led to her husband’s shocking electoral loss.

Rosmah Mansor was charged with 12 counts of receiving proceeds from unlawful activities totalling nearly 7.1 million ringgit (£1.3 million) in her bank account between 2013 and 2017.

Another five counts against her allege she failed to declare taxes on the money she received.

The charges sheets did not mention the 1MDB state investment fund at the centre of the case or where the allegedly illegal proceeds originated, but Rosmah was arrested by the anti-corruption agency on Wednesday after being questioned for a third time over alleged theft and money laundering at 1MDB.

Rosmah opted for trial and was released on bail. The court will fix the trial date later. If convicted, she would face between five and 15 years in prison and possible fines for each charge.

Her husband also appeared in court on Thursday for the management of his own trial over the 1MDB scandal. He has pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of money laundering, corruption, abuse of power and criminal breach of trust and is to face trial next year.

The couple smiled and waved to reporters but did not speak as they left the court building together.

“This is a good opportunity for [Rosmah] to... clear her name,” her lawyer Geethan Ram Vincent told reporters.

Najib, 65, tweeted after his wife’s arrest that he will hold on to his hope in Allah. He had accused the new government of seeking political vengeance and has said the thousands of luxury items seized by police were mostly gifts to his family.

Current prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, whose alliance ousted Najib’s long-ruling coalition in May’s election, said the court case against Rosmah was “not about revenge” but based on rule of law.

“The law says if you steal money, you can be charged in court. Whether the court agrees or not, that is a different matter,” he was quoted as saying by national Bernama news agency.