Malaysia fails in bid to forfeit luxury goods seized from former PM Najib

The ruling follows the government's failed court bid in May to prove that the RM114 million (S$37 million) seized from a residence linked to former premier Najib Razak was part of 1MDB's stolen funds. PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (BLOOMBERG) - Malaysia's government has failed in its attempt to forfeit luxury items seized from former prime minister Najib Razak and his family members.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court on Monday (Nov 8) dismissed the suit, saying the government failed to prove that the goods were bought using funds from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

The government will appeal the decision, Deputy Public Prosecutor Harris Ong Mohd Jeffery Ong said.

Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan said: "It is apparent that the investigating officer came to this conclusion based on his presumption. This is insufficient as they need to credibly prove a direct link between the money that was gained illegally to the cash found as well as the items bought."

The ruling follows the government's failed court bid in May to prove that the RM114 million (S$37 million) seized from a residence linked to Najib was part of 1MDB's stolen funds.

Najib had claimed the cash was for election purposes.

The cash and the luxury goods were part of the RM1.1 billion worth of items seized in 2018 amid investigations into 1MDB.

Malaysian police removing items from apartments owned by former PM Najib Razak's family during a raid, in Kuala Lumpur on May 17, 2018. PHOTO: ST FILE

The inventory included a RM6.4 million diamond necklace, Hermes bags and Rolex watches.

The raids occurred a month after Najib's coalition lost the national election, the first change in government since Malaysia achieved independence from Britain in 1957.

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