$38m cash seized from Najib-linked condos

Malaysian police removing items in a raid last week from three apartments in an upmarket Kuala Lumpur condominium linked to former prime minister Najib Razak's family. The police carted away bags filled with jewellery, cash, watches and other valuabl
Malaysian police removing items in a raid last week from three apartments in an upmarket Kuala Lumpur condominium linked to former prime minister Najib Razak's family. The police carted away bags filled with jewellery, cash, watches and other valuables.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Raid on KL luxury apartments nets cash in 26 currencies stashed in 35 bags

Malaysian police said RM114 million (S$38.4 million) in cash was seized from luxury apartments linked to Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak in operations conducted last week. Police had only this week finished counting and recording the stash.

Commercial crime investigation department chief Amar Singh told reporters yesterday that the cash, in 26 different currencies, was found stashed in 35 bags. The raid at the Pavilion Residences in central Kuala Lumpur last Friday yielded 284 boxes of handbags, and 72 bags containing cash, jewellery and watches.

 

"Out of the 72 bags that were seized, 35 of them contained RM114 million in cash in 26 foreign currencies. There were also 37 bags containing watches and jewellery," said Datuk Seri Amar.

He said most of the cash was in Malaysian ringgit and Singapore dollars.

He also confirmed that most of the handbags seized were from luxury French brand Hermes.

"We are in discussion with the luxury brand to authenticate them... we will send pictures to Paris for their authentication and valuation," he said. Police are also in the midst of authenticating the seized watches and jewellery, and getting estimates of their worth, he said.

Mr Amar said two of the apartments searched were occupied by Datuk Seri Najib's son Mohd Norashman and daughter Nooryana Najwa, while the third was unoccupied.

The raids were part of police investigations into allegations of corruption and money-laundering surrounding troubled state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

  • What was seized

  • • RM114 million (S$38.4 million) in cash from three condominium units linked to former premier Najib Razak.

    • The cash is in 26 different currencies, mostly Malaysian ringgit and Singapore dollars.

    • The raids on three condo units found 284 boxes of handbags and 72 bags containing cash, jewellery and watches.

    • Most of the handbags are from luxury French brand Hermes. Police are trying to confirm their authenticity.

    • Police also want to authenticate seized luxury watches and jewellery, and estimate their worth.

    • Earlier reports say police seized other items from Datuk Seri Najib's home in Taman Duta. These include 16 Chanel, eight Versace, 10 Gucci and five Oscar de la Renta handbags. There were also Dolce & Gabbana and Louis Vuitton bags.

    • There were also 10 watches from brands like Rolex, Hublot and Patek Philippe.

    •Cash seized in various currencies amounted to around RM623,750.

Since May 18, the police have conducted searches at 12 premises, Mr Amar said, including at the three apartments and at Mr Najib's private residence in Taman Duta. Dozens of luxury handbags, watches and RM500,000 in cash were seized from the Taman Duta mansion.

Mr Najib has lodged a police report on the apartment raid, claiming the items seized were gifts from friends while the cash was part of donations meant for the election campaign of Barisan Nasional, the coalition he formerly led that was defeated in the May 9 polls. Umno has claimed that the cash is party funds that must be returned.

But police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun said: "The investigation is still ongoing. We have to get to the bottom of the matter first."

He told a news conference: "Any demands or applications must follow the proper channels."

The new Pakatan Harapan government has reopened probes into 1MDB, with Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad vowing to recover billions of dollars allegedly misappropriated from the state fund.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 26, 2018, with the headline '$38m cash seized from Najib-linked condos'. Print Edition | Subscribe