Widow of Malaysian venture capital firm Cradle Fund's CEO charged with his murder

Samirah Muzaffar, seen here with her late husband Nazrin Hassan, founder of Cradle Fund, has been charged, along with two teens and another woman, with his murder.
Samirah Muzaffar, seen here with her late husband Nazrin Hassan, founder of Cradle Fund, has been charged, along with two teens and another woman, with his murder.PHOTO: NAZRIN HASSAN/ FACEBOOK

The widow of a Malaysian venture capital firm's chief executive officer who died in June last year has been charged with his murder, along with two underage boys and another woman who remains at large.

In a shocking twist to the in-vestigations over the death of Cradle Fund founder Nazrin Hassan, who was initially thought to have died from smoke inhalation after his mobile phone exploded, Samirah Muzaffar, 44, two boys aged 13 and 16, together with another woman still at large - believed to be the couple's Indonesian maid - were jointly charged yesterday with his murder.

The two women face the death sentence if convicted.

Based on the charge sheet, Samirah, the boys and her former helper allegedly committed the offence between 11.30pm on June 13 last year and 4am the next day at a house in Mutiara Damansara.

No plea was recorded from any of the accused.

According to news site The Star Online, a gag order was requested by Deputy Public Prosecutor Jamil Aripin to protect the teenagers and prevent the media from publishing names and details that could expose their identities.

"I ask the court not to allow photographs of the children to be transmitted in electronic media as well," Datuk Jamil was quoted as saying by the news site.

  • Events leading to murder charge

  • June 14, 2018

    Mr Nazrin Hassan is found dead with 30 per cent burns on his body in a bedroom at his house in Mutiara Damansara, Selangor.

    Initial reports suggest he died from smoke inhalation after his mobile phone exploded and caused a fire.

    June 15, 2018

    Mr Nazrin's venture capital company Cradle Fund issues a statement saying that he died from "blast injuries attributable to an exploding handphone".

    Aug 3, 2018

    Mr Nazrin's death is reclassified as murder after the authorities find traces of petrol at the scene.

    Aug 14, 2018

    His wife Samirah Muzaffar criticises the authorities, saying she has been kept in the dark about investigations.

    Sept 4, 2018

    Samirah and her former husband are detained for questioning and remanded for a week.

    Sept 5, 2018

    One of the two underage boys is detained after a puncture mark, consistent with those caused by arrows, is discovered on Mr Nazrin's neck. Media reports say the boys are archers at school.

    Oct 8, 2018

    Mr Nazrin's remains are exhumed for a second autopsy.

    Oct 15, 2018

    Mr Nazrin is reburied.

    Feb 26, 2019

    Second autopsy reveals Mr Nazrin died of multiple head injuries which were not caused by shrapnel from his exploding mobile phone.

    March 4, 2019

    Samirah, the two boys and her former Indonesian maid, who is still at large, are charged with murder.

    Nadirah H. Rodzi

Mr Jamil also applied for the case to be transferred to the High Court.

Earlier yesterday, Samirah - the daughter of prominent political scientist Chandra Muzaffar - and the underage boys were arrested at their home at about 6.45am.

The Indonesian maid is believed to have returned to her home country to avoid arrest.

Mr Nazrin was found dead on June 14 last year with 30 per cent burns on his body after a fire at his double-storey house in Mutiara Damansara, a suburb in Selangor about 15km from the capital.

Quoting his family members, local media had reported that the 45-year-old had complained of a migraine before going to bed.

Mr Nazrin was initially believed to have died from smoke inhalation after his mobile phone, which was charging while he was napping, exploded and caused a fire.

However, police reclassified the case as murder after investigations by the Fire and Rescue Department found traces of petrol at the scene, suggesting that the incident was orchestrated. It led to his remains being exhumed on Oct 8 for a second post-mortem.

Another surprise revelation reported by the media was that the police had picked up one of the two underage boys for questioning in September, after a puncture wound - believed to be caused by an arrow - was found on Mr Nazrin's neck.

Quoting unnamed sources, The Malay Mail Online said the boys were members of their school's archery club.

Samirah and her former hus-band were also picked up by the police in September and detained for questioning. They were released after a week, when their remand order expired.

Cradle is a Finance Ministry company that helps develop entrepreneurs and the Malaysian start-up ecosystem.

It was the agency that gave early funding to companies such as ride-hailing pioneer Grab (previously MyTeksi) and fintech start-up iMoney.

Mr Nazrin leaves a young son with Samirah, three stepsons, and another son from a previous marriage.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 05, 2019, with the headline 'Widow of Malaysian venture capital firm's CEO charged with his murder'. Print Edition | Subscribe