$273 Million in Seized Cash and Goods From Former Malaysian Prime Minister in Corruption Scandal
Police in Malaysia recovered $273 million in luxury items from former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak; the haul comprised the country’s biggest seizure ever. Authorities recovered the items during an investigation of money-laundering charges leveled against Najib stemming from the 1MDB state investment fund he set up while in office, Time Magazine reported.
Commercial crime investigations chief Amar Singh called the loot recovery “the biggest seizure in Malaysia’s history.”
Najib Reportedly Bought a Rare Diamond Necklace worth $27.3 Million for Wife
The seized luxury items included –
- 12,000 pieces of jewelry comprising of 2,200 rings, 1,400 necklaces, 2,100 bracelets, 2,800 pairs of earrings, 1,600 brooches and 14 tiaras
- 567 handbags
- 423 watches
- 234 sunglasses
According to the Royal Malaysian Police Commercial Crime Chief Singh, many of the seized items were identified as being very expensive and rare. Some such items included –
- Diamond necklace worth $1.6 million
- Rolex Daytona valued at $869,000
- 272 out of the total 567 handbags were identified as exclusive Hermes Birkins brand and valued at $12.7 million
The luxury items were recovered after police raided 12 locations where Najib owned property. Authorities say as soon as they complete their investigations, Najib and wife Rosmah Mansor will be invited for questioning. Anyone who gifted them with items while Najib was in power will also be called for interviews.
$4.5 Billion Money Laundering Scandal
The 1MDB fund was established in 2009 after Najib assumed office. Independent investigators disclosed that Najib and his associates milked the fund dry and accumulated billions in debt while also stealing from the account as much as $4.5 billion between 2009 and 2014. Investigators even discovered Najib bought a rare diamond necklace worth $27.3 million for Rosmah.
Current Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad launched a renewed investigation into 1MBD’s looted funds once he took office. Under Najib investigations into 1MBD were suppressed. Mahathir swore Najib and his former associates would not be spared if investigations prove they breached public trust and stole public funds.
Malaysians were well aware that former First Lady Rosmah Mansor lived an opulent lifestyle in office, but the video footage of the massive haul the police recovered from their homes has shocked the country. Time Magazine called it the most sensational instance of elite corruption in Asia in the three decades since the infamous collection of designer shoes and jewelry of former First Lady of the Philippines, Imelda Marcos.