Home Handbags Convicted former Malaysian prime minister can claim Richard Mille watches, Hermès handbags and jewelry seized after High Court ruling

Convicted former Malaysian prime minister can claim Richard Mille watches, Hermès handbags and jewelry seized after High Court ruling

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Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, convicted in 1MDB bribery case, can recover thousands of jewellery, watches and handbags seized after prosecution failed to prove they were from illegal activities , according to a Malaysian court.

Najib Razak, former Prime Minister of Malaysia between 2009 and 2018 | © Budiey

The High Court in Kuala Lumpur ruled on November 14 that the Malaysian government had failed in its latest attempt to confiscate luxury items seized by police in 2018 from former Prime Minister Najib Razak in connection with the corruption case. 1MDB.

If the prosecution does not appeal, Najib Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor will be able to recover the seven Richard Mille watches, 29 Hermès handbags and 2,435 jewels previously seized for an estimated value of 80 million ringgits (17 million dollars). ).

The Malaysian government had filed a lawsuit in 2019 seeking to confiscate assets seized during a raid on properties linked to Najib Razak. The lawsuit was filed against Obyu Holdings, the company that owns the properties; Najib Razak and the United Malayan National Organization (UMNO), Malaysia’s main political party, are third party claimants.

The government claimed that the assets had been misappropriated from 1Malaysia Development Berhad funds.

1Malaysia Development Berhad was originally a state fund created to develop the Malaysian economy. But Najib Razak has been accused along with others of using the funds to fund their lavish lifestyle. The amount stolen from 1MDB was estimated at $4.5 billion.

The scandal contributed to the loss of the coalition led by Najib Razak in the 2018 general election, after which he lost the post of prime minister he had held since 2009. The raid took place shortly after the fall of the Barisan Nasional administration, the right-wing coalition. led by the United Malayan National Organization which remained in power continuously from 1957 to 2018. Barisan Nasional returned to power in 2021.

Najib Razak was sentenced in 2020 to 12 years in prison and fined 210 million ringgit ($46 million) for abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money laundering of a 1MDB subsidiary. The sentence was confirmed last August.

But the Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled that prosecutors failed to prove that the luxury items in the bid were the proceeds of illegal activity.

Najib Razak has always maintained that his money came from a loan from a Saudi prince. The court also ruled that there was no evidence that the 3 billion ringgit ($653 million) in Najib Razak’s AmBank Islamic account from Prince Saud Abdulaziz Al-Saud resulted from illegal activities.

In September, Najib’s defense claimed three of the seven Richard Mille watches were corporate donations unrelated to 1MDB funds. The seven watches are worth a total of 4 million ringgit ($871,000). One is worth 1.58 million ringgit ($344,000) and another 500,400 ringgit ($109,000).

Deputy Prosecutor Faten Hadni Khairuddin told the court that the prosecution would consider appealing the decision and asked to grant an interim stay of the decision so that the material would be kept pending the appeal process. But the court rejected the request, considering that the appeal was only potential. The public prosecutor can also appeal against the decision to refuse to grant a suspension of the decision.

In total, police in their 2018 raid on properties linked to Najib Razak seized around 1 billion ringgit ($218 million). There were nearly 12,000 jewels (2,200 rings, 1,400 necklaces, 2,100 bracelets, 2,800 pairs of earrings, 1,600 brooches, 14 tiaras), 401 watches, 234 pairs of glasses, 306 handbags and cash in various currencies for an amount of 114 million. ringgit ($25 million). This is the largest seizure in Malaysian history.

But it was also not successfully proven that most of the seized assets came from the state fund 1MDB and this government bid was the latest attempt to confiscate some of the assets.

Last year, the same judge quashed the government’s request to confiscate the 114 million ringgit in cash seized from Najib and Rosmah because the prosecution failed to prove they had been misappropriated from 1MDB funds. . He ordered that the funds be returned to Umno and Najib. The prosecution did not appeal.

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