1MDB: Malaysia court rejects government request to forfeit designer handbags and jewellery seized from Najib and Rosmah

The High Court today denied the government’s request to forfeit RM80 million in high-end goods that were confiscated four years ago from Najib Razak and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, in connection with the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal.

Muhammad Jamil Hussin of the High Court made this decision today on the grounds that there was no indication the things were purchased using 1MDB funds.

The expensive goods in dispute include 29 handbags, seven Richard Mille watches, and 2,435 pieces of jewellery that were taken from an OBYU Holdings-owned condominium on May 17, 2018.

The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) has not demonstrated that the goods were obtained through a criminal breach of trust (CBT) involving funds from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), according to the judge.

Jamil said the prosecution had failed to prove that there was a predicate offence of CBT on a balance of probabilities.

The court found that the affidavits of the main investigating officer, Assistant Commissioner R Rajagopal, and Superintendent Foo Wei Min failed to substantiate CBT of 1MDB money from Blackstone Asia Real Estate Partners, Good Star Ltd, or Alsen Chance Holdings Ltd.

“Hence, following the failure to prove the predicate offence, the prosecution has unsuccessfully proven the proceeds they are claiming in this forfeiture exercise are through unlawful activities.

“Following this, the application to forfeit is dismissed,” The Edge reported.

The court further accepted that the seven watches in question worth more than RM4 million were gifts, while the handbags were not from proceeds of unlawful activities.

In 2019, the prosecution filed a forfeiture application against OBYU Holdings Sdn Bhd, which is listed as the owner of two condo units in Pavillion Residences where the items were seized from.

The seized items were 11,991 units of jewellery, 401 watch straps and 16 watch accessories, 234 pairs of spectacles, and 306 handbags, as well as cash in various denominations amounting to RM114,164,393.44.

The total items seized were valued between RM900 million and RM1.1 billion.

Najib began serving a 12-year prison term on Aug. 23 for embezzling RM42 million (US$ 10 million) from 1MDB-linked company SRC International after his final appeal to overturn his guilty verdict was rejected by the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Rosmah is appealing a guilty verdict by the High Court which convicted her for corruption in connection with the Sarawak schools’ solar hybrid project worth RM1.25 billion.

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