Treasure trove seized from ex-Malaysia PM worth up to $273 million | Inquirer News

Treasure trove seized from ex-Malaysia PM worth up to $273 million

/ 02:45 PM June 27, 2018

Najib Razak

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. AP File Photo

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – A vast trove of items seized in raids on properties linked to Malaysia’s scandal-mired former leader, including cash, jewelry, and luxury handbags, are worth up to $273 million, police said on Wednesday.

The searches, part of investigations into scandal-hit sovereign wealth fund 1MDB, netted 12,000 pieces of jewelry, bags containing almost $30 million in cash across 26 different currencies, more than 400 watches worth $19.3 million, and other high-end designer goods.


“I think this is the biggest seizure in Malaysian history,” said Amar Singh, the police’s head of commercial crime investigations, after officials completed the mammoth task of counting up all the items they uncovered in raids around Kuala Lumpur last month.


He said the items were worth between $225 million (910 million ringgit) and $273 million (1.1 billion ringgit).

The official salary of Malaysia’s former prime minister, Najib Razak, while in office was $5,670 (22,827 ringgit) a month.

Allegations of massive corruption were a major factor behind last month’s shock election loss of Najib’s long-ruling coalition to a reformist alliance headed by Mahathir Mohamad.

Najib and his cronies were accused of plundering billions of dollars from 1MDB to buy everything from real estate in the United States to artworks. Najib and the fund deny any wrongdoing.

His luxury-loving wife Rosmah Mansor became a lightning rod for public anger due to her vast collection of handbags and jewels, and her reported love of overseas shopping trips.

Rosmah Mansor, wife of former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, arrives at Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Office in Putrajaya, Malaysia last June 5, 2018. Rosmah Mansor has been summoned for questioning in a money-laundering probe involving the 1MDB state investment fund. (AP Photo/Sadiq Asyraf)

Mind-boggling collection


The mind-boggling collection of luxury items listed by police will increase public anger at the former first couple, whose spendthrift ways came to symbolize the decadence and rot in the Barisan Nasional coalition that had ruled the country uninterrupted since its independence from Britain in 1957.

The items were seized in raids on six premises linked to Najib, including luxury apartments in Kuala Lumpur and his main residence in an upscale part of the city.

The huge collection of jewelry included 1,400 necklaces and 2,200 rings. The most expensive item of jewelry was a necklace, which was estimated to be worth $1.5 million (6.4 million ringgit), according to Amar.

A total of 567 handbags were also seized, including 272 Hermes bags, worth $12.7 million (51.3 million ringgit), police said, adding that the values of the other handbags were still being calculated.

A total of 423 watches worth a total of $19.3 million (78 million ringgit) were also discovered, along with 234 pairs of sunglasses.

New Prime Minister Mahathir, who has just started his second stint as premier at the age of 92, has reopened investigations into 1MDB, which was shut down by Najib, and has vowed the former leader will be charged.

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Since their election loss, anti-graft investigators have questioned Najib and Rosmah over allegations that money linked to the state fund ended up in Najib’s bank accounts. /kga

TAGS: 1MDB, corruption, Malaysia, Najib Razak, Plunder, Police, Politics, Rosmah Mansor

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