Ex-Malaysia PM Najib Razak says effort on to reclaim valuables seized by police

1 / 2
Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak can be seen in this file photo. (Reuters)
2 / 2
Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak can be seen in this file photo. (Reuters)
Updated 29 June 2018
0

Ex-Malaysia PM Najib Razak says effort on to reclaim valuables seized by police

  • Malaysian police on Wednesday said items seized in the raids on various Najib-linked properties, including cash, jewellery and luxury handbags, are worth up to $273 million.
  • Police said the searches, part of investigations into scandal-hit sovereign wealth fund 1MDB, netted 12,000 pieces of jewellery, bags containing almost $30 million in cash across 26 different currencies, more than 400 watches worth $19.3 million, and othe

KUALA LUMPUR: Ousted Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said relatives and "third parties" have begun the legal process to reclaim valuables seized in police raids, insisting that most of the items were gifts.
Malaysian police on Wednesday said the items seized in the raids on various Najib-linked properties, including cash, jewellery and luxury handbags, are worth up to $273 million.
Police said the searches, part of investigations into scandal-hit sovereign wealth fund 1MDB, netted 12,000 pieces of jewellery, bags containing almost $30 million in cash across 26 different currencies, more than 400 watches worth $19.3 million, and other high-end designer goods.
Najib, whose Barisan Nasional coalition was ousted in elections last month, has been linked to the 1MDB scandal while his wife Rosmah Mansor has been widely criticised for her extravagant shopping sprees.
Allegations of corruption in connection with 1MDB were a major factor behind the shock election loss of Najib's long-ruling coalition to a reformist alliance headed by former leader Mahathir Mohamad, 92.
In a statement issued Thursday, Najib insisted that most of the items seized were gifts from friends and foreign dignitaries, including royalty, during special occasions like official visits and birthdays.
"Some of the items seized belong to relatives and various third parties. They have now started the legal process to claim their items from the police," Najib said.
He also disputed the quantity and the valuations on the items given by the police.
"Any valuation based on retail price and at current prices would be unrealistic, likely to be grossly inflated and will give a very distorted picture as these items were received as gifts over a period that spans decades," he said.
He said a Rolex Daytona watch which the police said was worth 3.4 million ringgit ($842,000) was a gift from a Middle Eastern prince who visited Malaysia in March.
The police did not respond to AFP's requests for comment but Inspector General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun was quoted in the Star newspaper on Friday as saying the valuations were made by industry experts.
"The estimation was not done based on our whims and fancies," he said.
Najib and his cronies have been accused of plundering billions of dollars from the government-controlled 1MDB fund to buy everything from US real estate to artworks.
Najib and 1MDB deny any wrongdoing.
Mahathir has reopened investigations into 1MDB which were shut down by Najib, and has vowed the former leader will be charged.
Since their election loss, Najib and his wife have been questioned by anti-graft investigators and are banned from leaving Malaysia.
The US Justice Department, which is seeking to recover items allegedly bought with stolen 1MDB cash in America, estimates that $4.5 billion was looted from the fund.


Cambodia genocide verdict a signal to other perpetrators: US

The historic verdict comes nearly 40 years after the Khmer Rouge were expelled from Cambodia following a four-year reign of terror that left about a quarter of the population dead. (AP)
Updated 17 November 2018
0

Cambodia genocide verdict a signal to other perpetrators: US

  • A war crimes tribunal in Cambodia found the Khmer Rouge’s former head of state Khieu Samphan, 87, and “Brother Number Two” Nuon Chea, 92, guilty of genocide on Friday
  • Let this be a message to other perpetrators of mass atrocities: US State Department

PHNOM PENH: The US has welcomed Cambodia’s landmark genocide verdict and said it served as a warning that perpetrators of mass atrocities, “even those at the highest levels,” will eventually face justice for their crimes.
A war crimes tribunal in Cambodia found the Khmer Rouge’s former head of state Khieu Samphan, 87, and “Brother Number Two” Nuon Chea, 92, guilty of genocide on Friday and sentenced them to life in prison.
The historic verdict comes nearly 40 years after the Khmer Rouge were expelled from Cambodia following a four-year reign of terror that left about a quarter of the population dead from starvation, mass executions, and overwork.
“Their crimes were numerous, calculated, and grave,” US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said, commending the courage of the victims and witnesses who testified during the trial.
“Let this be a message to other perpetrators of mass atrocities, even those at the highest levels, including former heads of state, that such actions will not be tolerated and they will ultimately be brought to justice,” she said in a statement.
Cambodia’s neighbor Myanmar has come under fire in recent months for its handling of the Rohingya crisis, which United Nations investigators believe amounts to “genocide” given the atrocities perpetrated on the stateless Muslim minority.
Myanmar has denied the allegations but UN investigators have urged that the case be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for investigation and prosecution.
Despite the show of support for war crimes prosecution, the US is one of the few Western countries that is not signed up to the ICC, which has a mandate to investigate the gravest offenses including genocide and crimes against humanity.
The country’s refusal to be party to the body erupted again following an ICC request to open an investigation into alleged war crimes by the US military and intelligence officials in Afghanistan, especially over the abuse of detainees.
White House National Security Adviser John Bolton called the Hague-based rights body “unaccountable” and threatened to arrest and sanction judges and other officials of the court if it moved to charge any American.