Kuala Lumpur, May 18 (IANS) Police in Malaysia have seized 72 bags stuffed with cash, jewellery and luxury goods from properties linked to former Prime Minister Najib Razak as part of investigations into the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) fund corruption scandal.
Almost 300 boxes of designer handbags were also seized in raids at luxury condominiums in downtown Kuala Lumpur’s Jalan Raja Chulan, state news agency Bernama reported on Friday.
The value of the seized goods, which included Hermes and Louis Vuitton bags, was yet to be ascertained due to the scale of the confiscation, the agency reported.
The raids were conducted on Wednesday night and continued till Thursday morning. Six properties had been searched in total in relation to reopened probe into the 1MDB scandal, the state investment fund from which Najib is accused of siphoning off billions of dollars. He has denied any wrongdoing.
“The Commercial Crime Investigation Department inspected six premises related to the 1MDB investigations, namely the Prime Minister’s Office, official residence and four other homes,” Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) Director Datuk Seri Amar Singh Ishar Singh told the media.
Documents relating to the 1MDB scandal were also retrieved in the raids, according to Singh.
Najib, whose government was plagued with the scandal, was defeated in last week’s parliamentary election by a coalition led by veteran politician Mahathir Mohamad, who came out of retirement to challenge Najib.
At a press conference on Thursday, Mahathir had said police had enough reason to raid Najib’s residences. “We have instructed investigation into all crime cases, no matter who is involved. If there is a case against them, we will take action.”
On Thursday Najib’s lawyer, Harpal Singh Grewal, told reporters that he understood that the items had been seized in order to advance an investigation under the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Acts, Bernama said.
Najib and his wife Rosmah Mansor are on an Immigration Department watch list and barred from leaving the country.