$31m pink diamond bought with 1MDB funds, say police

PETALING JAYA • Malaysian police have pieced together the money trail behind the purchase of a pink diamond that allegedly used funds from scandal-plagued 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

The federal police's Anti-Money Laundering division chief, Senior Assistant Commissioner Khalil Azlan Chik, said police had obtained evidence that the pink diamond, worth US$23 million (S$31 million), was bought from a jeweller in New York using 1MDB funds, The Star and other Malaysian media reported.

"Even though the diamond was not found during the raids conducted (at premises linked to former premier Najib Razak), we have found enough evidence to show that the diamond was purchased," he said in a statement yesterday.

He was commenting on the denial by Najib's wife Rosmah Mansor that she bought the pink diamond.

Deputy Finance Minister Amiruddin Hamzah told Parliament last Monday that the diamond was not purchased in Malaysia despite being brought into the country, the Malay Mail said. He said jewellery agents had declared the diamond among about 40 pieces of precious stones meant for the wife of a prominent person. But the agents also said the same jewellery left the country, indicating no sale was made.

Last year, Najib claimed the pink diamond pendant was a gift from Prince Sheikh Mansour, brother of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The United States has alleged that US$4.5 billion was siphoned off from 1MDB by top Malaysian officials and their associates.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 14, 2019, with the headline '$31m pink diamond bought with 1MDB funds, say police'. Print Edition | Subscribe