SRC trial: Najib says RM466,000 spent at Chanel Honolulu was for Rosmah’s birthday gift

Emmanuel Santa Maria Chin
Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is greeted by a supporter at the Kuala Lumpur High Court December 9, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 9 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak testified today that a US$130,625 (RM466,330) purchase he made at a Chanel store in Honolulu in the US state of Hawaii in December 2014 was a birthday present for his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.

Rosmah was born on December 10, 1951.

“The purchase in Chanel in Honolulu was for a watch I purchased as a gift for my wife’s birthday in the month of December,” he said from the witness stand before High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

Najib also explained another purchase at a De Grisogono jewellery outlet Sardinia, Italy, for €763,500 (RM3,282,734), which he said was a gift to the wife of Sheikh Ahmed Jassim Al Thani, identified in court as Her Excellency Noor Abdulaziz Abdulla Turki Al-Subaie.

Najib said the purchase on August 8, 2014 was made during a private holiday with his family members to Italy in August 2014, during which he met Sheikh Ahmed, the Qatari prime minister at that time.

The former prime minister said the gift was in reciprocation of the presents the Sheikh and his wife had given to Najib and Rosmah during the Qatari couple’s visits to Malaysia.

On the witness stand today, Najib said he bought a US$130,625 watch at Chanel Honolulu for his wife Rosmah as a birthday present. — Picture by Hari Anggara

Najib said he put the purchase on his personal account as he did not want to use public funds to do so and in the belief that he was entitled to spend money in it as he saw fit.

He went on to say the gift was to benefit Malaysia through maintaining good ties with foreign leaders.

“Accordingly, I felt that the purchase which we made at De Grisogono was one that was allowed for diplomatically,” he said.

On the RM127,017 charged to his credit card at the Shangri-La Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand in January 2015, he said this was for the accommodations for his family and accompanying officers.

“Concerning the Shangri-La transaction, following my visit to Kota Baru to check on the flooding situation there, I continued my personal vacation in Bangkok, Thailand, where I had left directly from Kota Baru.

“Even though the trip was a personal vacation, I also took the opportunity to meet my Thai counterpart His Excellency Prayut Chan-o-Cha to discuss how the Thailand government could assist us concerning the terrible flooding we were experiencing,” he testified in court.

The former prime minister said he chose to put the cost of the trip to Thailand, on his personal account by again saying he saw this as his prerogative.

Najib is testifying as the first witness in his defence of seven charges related to SRC International Sdn Bhd.

Three are for criminal breach of trust over a total RM42 million of SRC International funds while entrusted with its control as the prime minister and finance minister then, three more are for laundering the RM42 million, and the last is for abusing the same positions for self-gratification of the same sum.

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