Petaling Jaya—The Government of Malaysia, as well as the country’s police, have filed two civil forfeiture suits against former prime minister Najib Razak and wife Rosmah Mansor as well as other individuals, in order to take possession of items worth RM711million (S$234 million) which had purportedly been purchased using funds from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
These were filed on Tuesday, May 7, at the Kuala Lumpur High Court. The items to be seized include cash, luxury vehicles, jewellery, and designer handbags, according to a report in The Edge Financial Daily.
According to the report, this forfeiture would be the next step following authorities having taken possession of valuables from properties in the capital city district of Bukit Bintang and other venues.
The report also says that there were two notices of motion and supporting affidavits filed in the High Court, and that the first notice of motion was for the seizure of a property in the Klang Valley, as well as various luxury items such as jewellery, handbags, watches and sunglasses, and cash in different currencies, totaling RM680million (S$223.4 million).
The second motion was for the seizure of 27 luxury cars, 29 bank accounts, watches and bags plus cash which included foreign currencies worth RM31 million (S$10.2 million).
After last year’s General Election in May, the police raided various homes and offices connected to ex-PM Najib. Commissioner Amar Singh, who had been the commercial crime investigation department director at Kuala Lumpur’s Bukit Aman police headquarters, had described the seizure as the biggest in Malaysia’s history, with the total value of the items seized estimated to be between RM900 million (S$295.6 million) and RM1.1 billion (S$ 361.3 million).
More than 150 experts and police officers took more than one month to evaluate the total worth of the items possessed in the May 2018 raids, since, according to Amar Singh, the “numbers were too huge”.
Among the items seized were cash in 26 different currencies worth around RM 135 million; 12,000 items of jewelry with an estimated retail value of RM756 million, including 1,400 necklaces, 2,200 rings, 2,100 bangles, 2,800 pairs of earrings, 1,600 brooches and 14 tiaras; 567 handbags from 37 different designer brands, with the Hermes bags alone worth approximately RM59 million; 423 watches worth an estimated RM92 million; 234 pairs of sunglasses worth an estimated RM373,000.
Najib, along with and Arul Kanda Kandasamy, who used to helm 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), were charged with tampering the final 1MDB audit report on December 12, 2018, at a Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court.
Both men entered a “not guilty” plea and have claimed trial.
Najib allegedly used his office as Prime Minister and ordered that the audit report concerning the controversial 1MDB be altered between February 22 and 26, 2016, at the Prime Minister’s Office, before this report was finalized and prepared for presentation to the Public Accounts Committee.
In the report, mentions of Malaysian fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho (Jho Low) were allegedly removed.
He was charged with violating Section 28(1)(c) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 and could face a maximum of 20 years in jail, plus a fine of five times the amount of gratification or RM10,000, whichever amount is higher.
Malaysia’s Attorney General, Tommy Thomas, declared last year that the government would be seeking billions in fines and jail terms for Goldman Sachs and four other people for reportedly channeling RM11.3 billion (S$3.7 billion) from 1MDB.
The people named in the charges are Low, former Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng, former Goldman Sachs Southeast Asia chairman Tim Leissner, and former 1MDB employee Jasmine Loo.
Goldman Sachs has also denied culpability in the matter./TISG