Najib, Rosmah to know Nov 14 if they will get back bling, high-end handbags linked to 1MDB seizure

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 26 — The High Court will announce its decision on whether or not to return the various jewellery, luxury watches and handbags confiscated from convicted former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor on November 14.

The items had been seized by 1MDB investigators during raids at the upscale Pavilion Residences condominium here registered as belonging to Obyu Holdings Sdn Bhd.

High Court Judge Datuk Muhammad Jamil Hussin set the date after hearing submissions from the Attorney-General’s Chambers and lawyers representing Najib and Rosmah.

In the application, prosecutors are seeking to forfeit 2,435 pieces of jewellery, seven wrist watches and 29 handbags seized from the condominium unit on May 17, 2018; with both Najib and Rosmah naming themselves claimants to the items seized.

During submission, Najib's lawyer Tania Scivetti argued that the seven wrist watches forfeited from the 2018 raid were gifts and unconnected to funds belonging to sovereign investment firm 1MDB.

Scivetti said her argument was supported by an affidavit from the investigating officer Superintendent Foo Wei Min who confirmed that some of the seized wrist watches were gifts; adding that there were no concrete evidence to prove otherwise.

“On that, we submit the learned deputy public prosecutor cannot be said to have satisfied pursuant to Section 56(1) of the (Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities) Act and apply for the order for civil forfeiture of wrist watches to be dismissed,” she told the court.

Deputy public prosecutor Harris Ong Mohd Jeffery Ong had argued earlier that Najib and Rosmah failed to fullfill the provisions under Section 61 of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act as a bone fide third party to the forfeited properties.

Lawyer Datuk David Gurupatham who is representing Lebanese jewellery company Global Royalty Trading SAL, told the court that the AGC had accepted their representation on Rosmah relinquishing her claim on a US$220,000 (RM966,240) white gold diamond bracelet.

On June 8, Rosmah had informed the court she no longer wanted to proceed with the claim on the bracelet during a case management; where at the time Global Royalty was also staking a similar claim.

David told the court that the AGC was satisfied that the bracelet was the property of Global Royalty and ordered for its release to his client from Bank Negara Malaysia's vaults.

“Hence we are withdrawing the claim in court,” he said.

Najib has been convicted of stealing RM42 million in funds belonging to SRC International, a former subsidiary of 1MDB.

He is currently serving his 12-year jail sentence for it at Kajang Prison but is still on trial for a slew of other cases related to 1MDB.

Rosmah has also been found guilty of soliciting and accepting RM194 million bribes related to a RM1.25 billion government contract to supply energy to rural schools in Sarawak on September 1.

She was sentenced to 10 years’ jail and fined RM970 million but is appealing.