Najib, 64, nodded as he was charged with abuse of power and three counts of criminal breach of trust as part of an investigation into a transaction involving SRC International, a former unit of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
1MDB, set up by Mr Najib in 2009, was meant to turn the capital, Kuala Lumpur, into a financial hub and boost the economy through strategic investments.
Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was charged with corruption on Wednesday for allegedly accepting millions of dollars in bribe money, in a stunning fall from grace just months after his shock election defeat.
Each charge - all of which he denied - could see him jailed for up to 20 years.
The charges are in connection with how RM42 million ringgit (US$10.6 million) went from SRC International, a former 1MDB unit, into Najib's personal bank account.
He was arrested Tuesday by anti-graft officials over a suspicious transfer of $10.4 million (U.S.) into his bank accounts from SRC International, a former unit of the 1MDB state investment fund that US investigators say was looted of billions by associates of Najib.
The MACC, however, did not specify the charges he will face.
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) began investigating 1MDB, saying $4.5bn had been diverted.
Several vehicles of Umno Supreme Council members and their supporters also left Najib's residence a few minutes before the vehicle bringing him left.
"I am confident of my innocence, I believe in my innocence and this is the best chance to clear my name", Najib told reporters outside the courtroom after being released on bail.
Malaysia's Attorney-General Tommy Thomas said more charges relating to the 1MDB scandal will be filed, once he receives new investigation papers (IPs) from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
Investigators have been able to track the money trail from SRC more easily because transactions were made through Malaysian entities, whereas most other transfers of 1MDB funds went through foreign banks and companies.
"Let investigations be carried out".
Three years ago, the Wall Street Journal reported that Malaysian investigators had traced the deposit to a state fund 1MDB that Najib founded over a decade ago.
Since his loss at the polls to mentor-turned-foe Mahathir, Najib has been barred from leaving the country and had millions of dollars of items seized from properties linked to his family. "I expected questions from the press", he said.