Malaysia: Police Raid Home of Recently Ousted PM
Malaysian police searched the home of former Prime Minister Najib Razak Wednesday evening in connection with a financial scandal alleged to involve over US$4 billion, Reuters reported Thursday.
Najib led the Malaysian government for nine years before he lost the May 9 election. He has been under investigation for years over missing money from a state fund, but all prior probes cleared him of wrongdoing, which many saw as a farce. Najib has consistently denied any wrongdoing.
But a week after Najib lost the election, the new prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, allowed investigations into the 1MDB fund scandal to be reopened, claiming the authorities had sufficient evidence of corruption.
Wednesday’s raid lasted for almost 18 hours, according to a representative on Najib’s legal team, Harpal Singh Grewal. It lasted through the night and spanned five properties connected to the recently ousted politician accused of stealing almost $700 million from 1MDB.
Grewal dubbed the pursuit “unwarranted harassment,” claiming that Najib had been “prepared and willing to extend his fullest cooperation” to police.
“Nothing meaningful has come from the search and seizure of what would appear to be insignificant personal items,” including handbags and clothing, Grewal insisted. He said there is no indication that authorities will arrest Najib. However, last weekend authorities banned the former prime minister from leaving the country.
Police drilled open a safe found in Najib’s residence that had been sealed for two decades, and witnesses reported that police trucks left Najib’s home with big, blue boxes Thursday afternoon.
The boxes contents are still unknown.
Amar Singh, the director of police commercial crime investigations, confirmed to Reuters that the searches were related to the 1MDB scandal. “We are in the midst of collecting information, we will have more details once we have completed our search,” he said
Asked about the searches at a press conference, Prime Minister Mahathir said it was a police matter in which he had little information. “I suppose the police have enough reasons to raid,” he said.
Authorities in at least six countries are investigating the multi-billion-dollar scandal.