Cash, luxury items seized from ex-Malaysian PM Najib's residences valued at over S$300m

Malaysia police’s Commercial Crime Investigation Department chief Amar Singh Ishar Singh said the cash seized from 35 bags amounted to RM116.7 million in 26 currencies. ST PHOTO: NADIRAH H. RODZI
Malaysia police seized cash and luxury items including jewellery and hangbags valued at over S$300 million from residences linked to ex-Malaysian premier Najib Razak.
Several boxes of items being loaded into a Royal Malaysia Police truck by officers during a raid at an apartment unit owned by former Malaysian prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at the Pavilion Residences, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on May 18, 2018. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

KUALA LUMPUR - Items seized from six premises linked to Malaysia's ousted prime minister Najib Razak as part of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) probe are valued between RM900 million (S$304 million) and RM1.1 billion (S$371 million) - making it the biggest seizure the police has ever made in the country's history.

Police's Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) chief Amar Singh Ishar Singh said the cash seized from 35 bags amounted to RM116.7 million in 26 currencies.

"It took us three days to calculate. We were assisted by 22 officers from Bank Negara," he said at a press conference on Wednesday (June 27).

He further revealed that out of the 72 large luggage bags seized, 25 contained jewellery such as diamonds, bangles and earrings.

"About 12,000 items of jewellery were seized worth RM440 million, without taking into account workmanship costs. Among them were 1,400 necklaces, 2,200 rings, 2,100 bangles, 2,800 pairs of earrings, 1,600 brooches and 14 tiaras," he said, adding that the market value would be between 50 and 100 per cent more, or an estimated RM660 million to RM880 million.

"We took 16 days to count," he added.

Datuk Seri Amar said the most expensive necklace is a RM6.4 million gold and diamond necklace.

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The police also seized 567 luxury handbags, including high-grade counterfeits, worth RM51.3 million from 37 brands, including Hermes and Chanel.

"The most expensive is RM1.6 million. We also seized 423 luxury watches from 100 brands - Rolex, Richard Mille and Chopard, worth RM78 million which took us eight days to count," he said.

One of the handbags is a custom-made item that comes from Los Angeles-based House of Bijan. Its value has yet to be determined by police.

The luxury brand has been described as one of the most expensive in the world. According to Huffington Post, the brand has dressed every American president since Mr Ronald Reagan, except current president Donald Trump.

The news portal also reported that the brand caters to Prince William and Prince Charles as well as Hollywood stars such as Tom Cruise and Sir Anthony Hopkins.

The brand specialises in custom-made pieces made from luxury materials, such as crocodile skin and kangaroo leather. They see clients by appointment only.

Meanwhile, from three bags, police also confiscated 234 sunglasses from 34 brands - Cartier, Versace and Dior among others - worth RM374,000.

Since May 16, police have searched at least six premises linked to Mr Najib in its probe into the 1MDB scandal. Investigators have seized 284 boxes filled with designer handbags, 72 large luggage bags containing cash and valuables from four residences in Kuala Lumpur linked to him and his family.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, in an interview with Reuters last week, said Mr Najib was fully responsible for the 1MDB scandal and that authorities have "an almost perfect case" against the former leader.

Mr Najib has consistently denied any wrongdoing, having explained three years ago that the nearly US$700 million transferred into his account had been a donation from an unnamed Saudi royal. The US Department of Justice has said the money came from 1MDB, and that a total of US$4.5 billion was misappropriated from the fund.

Mr Najib told Reuters last week that he shouldn't be blamed for the alleged stealing from 1MDB, and declared he knew nothing about the money from the state fund appearing in his bank account.

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