Police find $29m cash in raids linked to former Malaysian PM

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Kuala Lumpur, May 25 (IANS) Malaysian police have uncovered $29 million in cash from a property linked to ousted Prime Minister Najib Razak as part of their investigation into the state investment company 1MDB corruption scandal, while 37 bags of jewellery, watches and gold bars seized are yet to be valued.

Police Commissioner Amar Singh said on Friday that it had taken 22 bank officers two days to count the cash, which was in 26 different currencies — mainly Malaysian ringgit, US dollars and Singapore dollars, the Guardian reported.

The cash was stuffed in 35 out of 72 bags that were found during a search last week of an unoccupied apartment in Kuala Lumpur’s affluent Pavilion Residences building, thought to be linked to Najib. “We had a search warrant for this empty premise where we found all these goods,” said Singh.

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Two hundred and eighty four boxes containing designer handbags were also seized while the 37 other bags, which Singh confirmed contained jewellery, watches and other valuable items, were still being authenticated and valued by police.

Police did not confirm who owned the property, saying only that the raid was part of the 1MDB investigation. It appeared no one was living in the apartment and it was being used just as a storeroom with the bags of money and jewellery and boxes of handbags stashed together in a corner.

Twelve locations had been searched in relation to the reopened probe into the 1MDB scandal, the state investment fund from which Najib is accused of siphoning off billions of dollars. Over $4 billion was embezzled from the government fund and spent around the world.

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The sum of $681m from the fund is reported to have ended up in Najib’s personal bank account. He gave testimony earlier this week to the Malaysian anti-corruption commission about this transaction and his involvement in the fund.

Najib has denied any wrongdoing.

Police also raided homes of his son Nor Ashman and daughter Nooryana Najwa, who also live in Pavilion Residences condominiums. Another 150 handbags and shoes were found from the former Prime Minister daughter’s home.

Both Najib and UMNO, the political party that Najib led before his election loss, claimed that the cash in the former leader’s home was campaign funds being transferred to new party leadership.

–IANS

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