Malaysian ex-PM Najib's wife Rosmah stands to face trial over RM60 million in unpaid jewellery

Malaysian ex-PM Najib's wife Rosmah stands to face trial over RM60 million in unpaid jewellery

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak's wife Rosmah Mansor will know soon whether she will have to face trial over unpaid jewellery worth RM60 million (S$19.9 million) demanded by a Lebanese jeweller, who counts the former self-styled first lady as one of his best customers, local media reported.

According to The Malaysian Insight (TMI), the Kuala Lumpur High Court will make a decision soon on Ms Rosmah's application to strike off the suit filed by Mr Samer Halimeh after a consignment of 44 pieces of jewellery that were sent to her in February were seized in government raids in May. The items have not been paid for.

Ms Rosmah had filed an application last month to strike out the case on grounds that Mr Halimeh cannot claim money through the civil court without the consent of the Attorney-General, citing anti-money laundering laws, reported TMI.

Rosmah's attire and accessories capture attention during questioning

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    Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor has pleaded not guilty to all 17 charges of money laundering involving about RM7mil at the Sessions Court here Thursday (Oct 4).

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    The charges framed against her are under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (AMLATFPUAA) 2001.

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    Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor was arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). According to her lawyers, she was arrested at 3.20pm while giving her statement at its headquarters here.

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    Rosmah had arrived at the MACC headquarters at 10.42am earlier on Wednesday (Oct 3). Clad in a light green baju kurung and matching headscarf, Rosmah looked calm as she walked past the gathered media.

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    The latest interrogation of the former Malaysian PM's wife by the country's anti-corruption officers is believed to evolve around the 1MDB scandal.

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    Ros­mah emerged from the MACC headquarters on Wed after a 13-hour interrogation. Although she looked exhausted, the 66-year-old afforded a meek smile to waiting journalists outside the building.

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    Her attire and accessories were the centre of attention on Sept 26, as she had colour coordinated her green baju kurung and tudung with a Loewe designer handbag and wedge shoes.

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    Rosmah looked calm when she alighted from a Proton Perdana and walked past a horde of journalists who converged outside the MACC building earlier in the morning.

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    This was the second time Rosmah had been questioned by the MACC.

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    The last time out, she wore a blue baju kurung and red tudung, with her bright red Versace handbag drawing the most stares.

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    The last time out, she wore a blue baju kurung and red tudung, with her bright red Versace handbag drawing the most stares.

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    Rosmah was questioned for about five hours by MACC investigators on June 5 over a probe into SRC International Sdn Bhd, a former 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) subsidiary.

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    This time round, she entered the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) headquarters at 9.50am on Sept 26 and emerged at 10.40pm.

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    Last Thursday (Sept 20), Najib was slapped with 25 fresh corruption and money-laundering charges. He was granted bail of RM3.5 million (S$1.15 million) with two sureties in his latest court case.

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    Investigators have not ruled out that Najib as well as other individuals could be faced with even more charges related to the 1MDB case.

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    The United States Department of Justice has alleged that more than US$4.5bil (RM18bil) was misappropriated from 1MDB and that about US$680 million (S$929 million) ended up in Najib’s personal bank account.

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Ms Rosmah also said in her affidavit that no civil suit can be instituted to claim seized properties under Section 54(3) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities 2001 for any business transaction or "dealing".

Mr Halimeh, in an affidavit filed last week, said consent has been given because the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) has applied to act as intervener in his case on behalf of the government, TMI reported.

An intervener is a third-party litigant that joins an ongoing litigation because it may be affected by the judgement.

A decision on Ms Rosmah's application to strike out the suit will be made soon, said Mr Halimeh's lawyer David Gurupatham, TMI reported.

"If Rosmah's application is thrown out by the high court, then it will go to trial and she will have to give evidence in court," he said.

Malaysian police search places linked to ousted PM Najib

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    The cash and items seized from the six residences linked to Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak amounted to between RM900 million (S$304 million) and RM1.1 billion, say the police.

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    He said that more than 12,000 pieces of jewellery - comprising 2,200 rings, 1,400 necklaces, 2,100 bracelets, 2,800 pairs of earrings,1,600 brooches and 14 tiaras were seized.

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    He added that this was the biggest seizure in Malaysian history.

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    Najib's wife Rosmah Mansor arrived at the headquarters of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to have her statement recorded in connection with a suspicious transfer of about $10.6 million (S$14.2 million) from the former 1MDB unit SRC International.

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    The sum is just a fraction of the billions of dollars allegedly siphoned from 1MDB, the state fund that Najib set up, in a scandal that dogged the last three years of his near-decade-long rule and was a key reason why he was voted out in a May 9 election.

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    M. Puravalen, a lawyer acting for Najib and Rosmah in connection with the SRC investigations, told Reuters on Tuesday he had "ceased acting" for Najib and Rosmah.

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    He said a second lawyer, Yusof Zainal Abideen, had also quit.

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    Puravalen, Abideen and other members of their legal team were reported to have walked out because they failed to reach common ground with Najib on several issues.

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    Najib has already made a series of statements to anti-graft investigators

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    but attention has shifted to his wife after police discovered hundreds of luxury handbags and a stash of jewelry and cash during raids on apartments linked to Najib and his family.

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    Malaysian police have seized 284 boxes filled with designer handbags, watches, jewellery and cash in various currencies from three luxury condominiums.

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    Comm Amar said the designer handbags were of various brands including Louis Vuitton and Birkin bags from Hermes.

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    He added that it was impossible for police to estimate the value of the items seized because there were just too many items and cash seized.

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    He also said that the apartment was not owned by Najib but a "Tan Sri".

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    Federal Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) director Comm Datuk Seri Amar Singh, who led the raids at Pavilion Residences here said this was part of its investigations into 1MDB.

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    This follows a police check of six locations linked to former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak here and in Putrajaya, including the Prime Minister's Office, his official residence as well as four other residences.

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    When asked whether Najib would be arrested, he said: "There is no indication that they (the police) will do it."

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    He said Najib and his family were cooperative with police. "They (the police) also acted professionally," he said.

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This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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