Malaysian Police Seize Millions from Ex-PM

Published: 25 May 2018

Najib RazakFormer Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak (Photo: Firdaus Latif, CC BY-SA 2.0)

By Lydia Osborne

Malaysian police seized US$ 28.6 million in cash and more than 400 luxury handbags from several apartments on Friday as part of an anti-graft investigation of former prime minister Najib Razak, Reuters reported.

An investigation into the billions that went missing from state fund 1MDB during Najib’s presidency was reopened after he was ousted from office May 9. He has consistently denied wrongdoing but is banned from leaving the country.

In addition to Najib’s home, police searched the apartments of two of his children as well, the head of Malaysia’s commercial crime division Amar Singh told a news conference. Since May 18, a dozen properties connected to Najib have been inspected.

Officers found the cash in an empty apartment in the Bukit Bintang neighborhood of Kuala Lumpur, along with 284 boxes of handbags. The bank notes were in 26 different currencies.

Singh said the apartment did not belong to any of Najib’s relatives but declined to name the owner.

Half a million ringgit, excluding foreign currency, was found at Najib’s home, and an additional 150 handbags were taken from the home of Najib’s daughter, Nooryana Najwa.

“We have had discussions with Hermes, and we will take pictures and send them to Paris to verify their authenticity and their value,” Singh told reporters.

Experts were being brought in to estimate the value of other luxury items seized, according to Reuters.

On Friday, Malaysia’s new government led by Mahathir Mohamad pledged to honor all debt payments connected to 1MDB. At the end of 2017, it is estimated that the government guarantees $9.54 billion of 1MDB’s debt.

“We will honor those even though we are not happy with 1MDB, but we have to honor our international obligations,” Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said. “I think this will reassure the markets that this government knows what it is doing.”