Value of items seized from Najib-linked properties totals RM1.1b

Amar: It took three whole days, with 22 officers from BNM and six cash counting machines, to tally the final cash sum. Photo by: Mohd Suhaimi Mohamed Yusuf

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KUALA LUMPUR (June 27): An astounding RM1.1 billion. That's the value of all items seized by the Malaysian police from six properties linked to former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in a raid last month.

At a press conference today, Federal Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) director Commissioner Datuk Seri Amar Singh Ishar Singh revealed that the items seized from the properties in Putrajaya, Pavilion Residences and Jalan Langgak Duta, which included cash in 26 currencies, 12,000 pieces of jewellery, 284 handbags, 423 watches and 234 sunglasses, totaled RM900 million to RM1.1 billion.

The 234 sunglasses of various brands including Gucci, Versace and Cartier alone were estimated to be worth some RM374,000, he said, adding that the total amount of cash seized, meanwhile, stood at RM116.7 million.

"It took three whole days, with 22 officers from Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) and six cash counting machines, to tally the final cash sum," he said at the CCID headquarters here today.

Amar said the police had also deployed more than 150 policemen to carry out the task of counting and tallying all of the items and merchandise seized from the six properties.

"They have been working non-stop for 16 days including throughout the Hari Raya festive season.

"We have stored these items in a single location owned by BNM, so that it will be easy for the police and merchandise experts to count, evaluate and appraise the items," he said.

Amar said the police will next be calling for the owner of the properties, as well as Najib and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, to ascertain the owner of the hard cash.

The 12,000 pieces of jewellery and beauty accessories seized amounted to RM442 million, including 2,800 pairs of earrings, 2,100 bangles, 1,600 brooches and 14 tiaras.

"This amount is only at cost price and exclude other costs such as workmanship and various other ancillary costs," said Amar.

Among the jewelleries, Amar revealed that the most expensive piece was a white diamond necklace, which experts had estimated to cost RM6.4 million.

As for the 284 handbags seized, they comprised 37 brands including Prada, Chanel, Versace, Hermes and Bijan, for which the average price per piece was RM1.6 million.

"We have called in experts to evaluate and appraise the Hermes handbags only. These alone totalled RM51.3 million. We will identify the other brands at a later stage," he added.

The 423 watches seized totalled RM78 million, comprising more than 100 brands including Richard Mille, Rolex and Chopard.

"The most expensive watch was a version of Rolex Daytona, which was valued at RM3.4 million," said Amar.

"This is the biggest seizure in Malaysian history," he said, adding that the case was classified under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.

"We won't know if the money is from Umno. We will have to probe. No one has claimed it as their money," he said.

Since May 18, the police have conducted searches at several premises linked to the former prime minister, including the six properties as part of police investigations into allegations of corruption and money-laundering surrounding troubled state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

At the end of the search, which was carried out under Section 409 of the Penal Code, the police had seized 72 bags containing cash in various denominations, jewelleries and watches, as well as 284 boxes of luxury handbags.

On May 31, it was reported that Najib had lodged a police report on the raid carried out at three condominiums at Pavilion Residences, claiming the items seized were gifts from friends while the cash was part of donations meant for the election campaign of Barisan Nasional, the coalition he formerly led that was defeated in the May 9 polls.