Rosmah denies $21m jewellery purchases

Malaysia's Commercial Crime Investigation Department director Amar Singh showing pictures of items seized from six premises linked to former premier Najib Razak, including cash and a stash of jewellery.
Malaysia's Commercial Crime Investigation Department director Amar Singh showing pictures of items seized from six premises linked to former premier Najib Razak, including cash and a stash of jewellery.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

PETALING JAYA • The wife of former Malaysian premier Najib Razak, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, yesterday issued a statement denying she had purchased jewellery worth US$14.8 million (S$21 million) from a Lebanese jeweller.

Local media yesterday reported that Beirut-based Global Royalty Trading had filed a lawsuit against Madam Rosmah at the Kuala Lumpur High Court on June 26 through law firm David Gurupatham and Koay.

"We would like to stress that all of the jewellery itemised in Global Royalty's statement of claim were sent to our client, for her viewing, and none were purchased by Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor," Madam Rosmah said in a statement through her lawyers. "The allegations being spread that the jewellery listed by Global Royalty were purchased, and that too bought using stolen funds, are therefore completely baseless and untrue," it added.

Global Royalty said in its statement of claim dated Feb 10 that 44 pieces of jewellery comprising a tiara, diamond necklaces, rings, bracelets and earrings were sent to Madam Rosmah. It added that while Madam Rosmah had acknowledged, in writing, receiving the consignment, the items were no longer in her custody.

Six premises linked to Najib were raided by police about a week after the country's May 9 general election that saw his long-ruling Barisan Nasional coalition ousted from power. Police said the items seized from the raids included cash, jewellery, handbags, watches and luxury sunglasses.

Global Royalty alleged that Madam Rosmah was a long-standing customer and it would send consignments of jewellery to her at her demand. She would then evaluate and purchase the items which she paid for on her own or through a third party.

The firm added that Madam Rosmah would sometimes borrow the jewellery. Global Royalty also said items that were not chosen would be returned. The jewellery firm is seeking a declaration from the court that it is the rightful owner of the 44 items. It is also seeking a mandatory order for the items to be returned or for Madam Rosmah to pay back the costs of the items.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2018, with the headline 'Rosmah denies $21m jewellery purchases'. Print Edition | Subscribe