Police spend hours drilling to break into safe at Najib's home

Police vehicles coming out of former prime minister Najib Razak's bungalow in Taman Duta yesterday. Late on Wednesday, police began a search of the bungalow and four other places linked to Datuk Seri Najib in connection with an investigation into the
Police vehicles coming out of former prime minister Najib Razak's bungalow in Taman Duta yesterday. Late on Wednesday, police began a search of the bungalow and four other places linked to Datuk Seri Najib in connection with an investigation into the 1MDB scandal.PHOTO: BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR • Police raiding the house of former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak in an upscale neighbourhood have been attempting to break into his safe by drilling through it.

Datuk Seri Najib's lawyer, Datuk Harpal Singh Grewal, said a police team began drilling into the safe at 8.30am yesterday. Mr Harpal said the safe was found in a room on the first floor of the residence in Kuala Lumpur, adding that the drilling had to be done as the key had been misplaced.

He said the drilling continued past 5pm, and that the safe had not been opened in two decades.

Meanwhile, Pakatan Harapan ruling coalition leader Anwar Ibrahim said Mr Najib had called him twice on the night of the May 9 election, "totally shattered" that he had lost and asking for advice on what to do.

"When he called on the night of the election, I advised him as a friend to concede and move on," Datuk Seri Anwar told Reuters in an interview.

"Even if he had referred to that (a deal), I would have just ignored... I was just listening to him," Mr Anwar said when asked if Mr Najib had offered him a deal to shift allegiance. "After the second call, he was totally shattered."

Police on Wednesday began a search of Mr Najib's bungalow in Taman Duta and four other places linked to him in connection with an investigation into the scandal-plagued state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Police entered the house late on Wednesday, an extraordinary scene that thousands watched unfold as it was streamed live.

Mr Amar Singh, the director of police commercial crime investigations, told Reuters that searches were being carried out at the home, at the former prime minister's office and a residence he had used, as well as two apartments owned by his family.

Last night, police were seen at the Pavillion Residences where the apartments were located to conduct searches.

"We are in the midst of collecting information, we will have more details once we have completed our search," he said, confirming that the searches were related to investigations into the 1MDB scandal that had dogged Mr Najib since 2015.

The authorities in at least six countries, including the United States and Singapore, are investigating the multibillion-dollar scandal over the fund that Mr Najib founded. Mr Najib has denied any wrongdoing.

Mr Harpal, the lawyer, said the police search had gone on for almost 18 hours and was "unwarranted harassment" as Mr Najib had indicated he was "prepared and willing to extend his fullest cooperation".

He said police had found "nothing incriminating", but took away some personal items, including handbags and clothing.

Yesterday was the first day of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, with Mr Najib allowed to leave his house to break fast at the home of his mother, Tun Rahah Mohammad Noah, widow of Malaysia's second prime minister, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 18, 2018, with the headline 'Police spend hours drilling to break into safe at Najib's home'. Print Edition | Subscribe