Rosmah seeks RM500,000 security costs from Lebanese jeweller

Rosmah's lawyer Datuk Geethan Ram Vincent. (Photographer: Mohd Izwan Mohd Nazam/The Edge)

-A +A

KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 19): Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor through her lawyers had sought RM500,000 in security costs from Lebanese jeweller Global Royalty Trading SAL over their suit against her regarding 44 pieces of jewellery worth more than US$14.78 million (RM60 million) that was sent to her before last year's general election but are said to be missing.

Her lawyer Datuk Geethan Ram Vincent said his client filed the application on Friday (Aug 16) and also another application for an independent jeweller to assess four out of the 44 pieces of jewellery which Rosmah alleged is now with the police.

"We have asked [for] a security for costs as this involves a foreign company and should we win, how can we ascertain they could pay costs over the suit?

"We have sought a sum of RM500,000 as security costs but the plaintiff is objecting to the sum. They, however, agreed to the appointment of an independent jeweller to assess the four items," he said.

Geethan said the Lebanese jeweller has alleged that the four items are with the police; however, he claimed the jeweller has not seen them.

"Hence, the need for the items to be verified by an independent jeweller to [ensure the authenticity of] the items," he said.

As such Geethan and Datuk David Gurupatham, who is acting on behalf of the Lebanese jewellery firm, said the court has fixed Sept 11 to hear both applications.

They earlier met High Court judicial commissioner Wong Chee Lin for the case.

Gurupatham also said they will amend their statement of claim to reflect the present changes and the matter will also be heard on that day.

The trial for the suit that had been fixed on Sept 17 will continue as scheduled, according to both lawyers.

Also present were senior federal counsel Raja Zaizul Faridah Raja Zaharudin, who appeared for the Attorney General's Chambers as intervener.

Raja Zaizul said they will decide later on the application for an independent jeweller to be appointed.

Suit filed last year
It was previously reported that Global Royalty filed the suit on June 26, demanding that Rosmah return the 44 pieces of jewellery sent to her for her viewing.

In its statement of claim, Global Royalty, which is an international wholesale jewellery firm, claimed that Rosmah had been its long-standing customer and that the firm would send consignments of jewellery to her on request.

She would then evaluate or purchase the items of her choice, which she would pay for on her own or through a third party.

The firm, which has been supplying jewellery for royalty and the rich and famous from all over the world, claimed that the items not chosen would normally be returned and, in certain situations, Rosmah would borrow the jewellery and return it to the plaintiff.

The plaintiff also claimed that the defendant would receive the jewellery personally or through its personnel/agent in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore or Dubai.

The firm claimed that on Feb 10 last year, it had sent 44 pieces of jewellery, including a diamond necklace, earrings, rings, bracelets and a tiara, each worth between US$124,000 and US$925,000, to the defendant by hand through two of its agents.

The plaintiff said that during the handover, the defendant also acknowledged and accepted the terms and conditions stated in Memorandum No. 926 relating to the items.

Global Royalty claimed that Rosmah, in a letter dated May 22 last year, also confirmed and acknowledged receiving the items, but said the items were no longer in her custody as they had been seized and were with the Malaysian authorities.

The firm claimed that at all material times, the plaintiff was the owner of the jewellery and the ownership had never been transferred to the defendant.

Global Royalty is seeking a court declaration that the firm is the legal owner of the 44 pieces of jewellery, and an order stating that the ownership of the items was never transferred to the defendant.

It also seeks a mandatory order for Rosmah to provide the list of jewellery seized, an order for the jewellery to be returned or, if not, Rosmah shall be held responsible for paying the price for the items totalling US$14.79 million (RM59.83 million).

Rosmah, in her statement of defence filed on July 23, has denied purchasing any of the 44 pieces of jewellery and said they were delivered for her viewing by virtue of the fact that she was the wife of the prime minister of Malaysia on the plaintiff's own accord and volition and without there being any obligation for Rosmah to purchase the jewellery.

The police had in May last year raided several properties in the Klang Valley and seized jewellery and cash which is now subject to forfeiture proceedings.

See also:
Lebanese firm identifies some of 44 jewellery pieces shipped to Rosmah among items seized by govt
Court allows Govt to intervene in Lebanon jeweller's suit against Rosmah
Police seize 72 suitcases filled with cash and jewellery, 284 boxes containing designer handbags from Najib-linked condo