TAIPEI - The son of former Malaysian premier Najib Razak was spotted spending time in Taipei with a Taiwanese actress on Thursday (July 5), a day after his father was arrested and charged for corruption , Apple Daily Taiwan reported on Friday (July 6).
Najib, who unexpectedly suffered a defeat during the Malaysian general elections earlier this year, was charged with criminal breach of trust and abuse of power in relation to state fund 1MDB on Wednesday. He was released on bail the same day.
According to the Apple Daily report, one of his sons, Mr Mohd Nazifuddin Najib, also known as Nazif Najib, was seen dining with the woman at a steak restaurant in Taipei's top luxury shopping district. They later took a taxi together to a massage parlour.
The tabloid identified the woman as Celia Chang, a 34-year-old Taiwanese actress starring in a current Sanlih E-Television soap opera. She is said to be of Chinese-Vietnamese descent and has been in the entertainment industry for four years.
They spent more than three hours at Morton's The Steakhouse inside the Breeze Xinyi shopping mall near Taipei 101, laughing and clinking glasses, Apple Daily said, adding that two bottles of red wine were consumed.
Mr Nazif appeared to be relaxed and in good spirits and was seen chatting animatedly in English with the actress.
The pair held hands when they left and appeared intimate, with Mr Nazif making no attempt to conceal his identity in public.
Apple Daily added that they followed up with a candlelight dinner, spent two hours at a pub and took another cab to Grand Hyatt Taipei at 1am local time.
Mr Nazif, who announced in March that he was "stepping out" of politics temporarily, reportedly flew back to Malaysia Friday morning.
Apple Daily said Mr Nazif met Ms Chang through Taiwanese friends three years ago, but did not begin courting her until recently when she became single. Ms Chang was also reportedly not aware of Mr Nazif's identity, Apple Daily added.
In response to queries, Ms Chang's spokesman said the Malaysian ex-premier's son was a friend of hers, and she had acted as his guide during his short trip to Taipei.
The pair only spent time at the hotel bar, after which Mr Nazif proceeded to his room upstairs and Ms Chang left. They also did not discuss politics, as it is a sensitive matter, the spokesman added.
Mr Nazif responded to queries through Ms Chang, saying that he was in Taipei for a meeting and to catch up with an old friend.
Apple Daily noted that while he was in Taiwan, Mr Nazif published a Facebook post defending his father against accusations of corruption and accusing the new government of "practicing feudal politics filled with vengeance."