KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 26): Datuk Seri Najib Razak's lawyers have submitted that three of the seven Richard Mille watches that were seized by police in the Pavilion condo raid in May 2018, worth a total of RM4.514 million, were gifts to the former prime minister.
Two of the watches, one costing RM1.58 million and the other RM500,400, were bought by Datuk (now Tan Sri) Yeoh Seok Ping of YTL fame, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and Tania Scivetti submitted during hearing of a forfeiture application in the High Court on Monday (Sept 26).
Scivetti said the RM500,400 watch was paid for by Yeoh via Taman Equine (M) Sdn Bhd, while the RM1.58 million watch was paid via Sykt Pembenaan Yeoh Tiong Lay Sdn Bhd.
The third watch, costing RM419,300, was paid for by Datuk (now Tan Sri) Desmond Lim, the lawyer said.
“There is no evidence that the companies in question purchasing the watches are said to have received funds from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB). This further showed that the money did not originate from 1MDB, as alleged by the prosecution,” she said.
Scivetti further said that the prosecution had in the affidavits from the investigating officers also failed to prove any nexus between the rest of the watches and 1MDB.
Shafee, meanwhile, submitted that judge Datuk Muhammad Jamil Hussin should make a similar ruling as he did when dismissing the prosecution’s forfeiture case with regards to RM114 million worth of local and foreign currency. The judge had ruled that the funds were owned by Umno.
Shafee said when the prosecution had failed to prove the predicate offence, then the third-party claim filed by Najib should be allowed.
Najib’s lawyers want Jamil to allow their third-party claim for the return of the seven watches to Najib, and dismiss the prosecution’s attempt to forfeit the watches under the Anti Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds from Unlawful Activity Act 2001 (AMLATFPUA).
The prosecution had claimed that Alsen Chance Holding Ltd had also paid US$1.580 million to a Richard Mille outlet through two payments in August 2012 for the purchase of the branded watches and it further claimed that the rest of the watches were from these proceeds of Alsen Chance.
Alsen Chance is a company controlled by Eric Tan Kim Loong, a close associate of Low Taek Jho (also known as Jho Low).
Scivetti and Shafee argued that the evidence on the purchase by the two businessman for Najib showed that there is a serious gap to the prosecution’s case or claims that the purchase of the watches came from 1MDB as alleged.
Counsel Iskandar Shah Ibrahim, the counsel for Najib’s wife Rosmah Mansor, said his client is adopting the submission made by Shafee and Scivetti, and stood by the written submissions made, which they had filed in court.
Rosmah is challenging the prosecution’s attempt to forfeit 2,345 pieces of jewellery that were seized by the police in the Pavilion condo raid. Out of the almost 12,000 pieces of jewellery seized by the authorities, it is now left with only 2,345 pieces, along with 29 handbags costing RM80 million.
The remaining 9,000 pieces of jewellery that had been seized in the raid could not be proven to be from 1MDB proceeds, resulting in the prosecution amending its notice of forfeiture to only 2,345 pieces of jewellery, seven watches and 29 handbags.
Judge Jamil has fixed Nov 14 for decision on the forfeiture application.
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