Handbags stuffed with cash, a number of jewellery items and hundreds of expensive purses were among the items seized from apartment units and homes owned by former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s family, during the second night of police raids in Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia’s Star Online newspaper reported on Friday that 284 boxes filled with luxury items were seized from three condominium properties located in a highrise building in the country’s capital.
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The operation on Thursday night was part of a continuing investigation ordered by newly-installed Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Najib.
Al Jazeera’s Florence Looi, reporting from Kuala Lumpur, said the raids were still going on Friday, adding that six locations were searched.
She reported that investigators are also trying to unlock a safety deposit box, which Najib reportedly said could not be opened because the key has been missing.
In one of the properties, investigators took boxes of Hermes Birkin bags and loaded them into five police trucks, according to Singapore’s Straits Times.
Our correspondent said that the Hermes bags cost anywhere between tens of thousands of US dollars up to $200,000 each.
Police also seized at least 72 bags filled jewellery, watches as well as cash of various denominations, according to the report.
Aman Singh, a senior police investigator overseeing the raids, was quoted as saying that the number of jewellery “is rather big”. He said that investigators are still trying to determine the total sum worth of the seized items.
Najib, who is prevented by the new government from leaving the country, is being investigated by the new government of Mahathir over a corruption scandal at the state-owned investment fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), from which officials are alleged to have stolen more than $4.5bn.
#Malaysia: Rosmah Mansor is known to fancy Birkins a lot. Once, Internet users got creative & started a collage of her carrying all the different Birkins. These bags are valued anywhere from US$12,000 to US$300,000. Housewife with a lot of $ #1mdbhttps://t.co/YRk6cBoIt3
— Trinna Leong (@trinnaleong) May 17, 2018
New York penthouse, Van Gogh paintings
Some of that money is alleged to have ended up in Najib’s personal bank account, according to a civil lawsuit in the United States.
In 2016, the US State Department filed a case seeking to seize more than $1bn in assets linked to the fund.
US prosecutors listed some 20 assets including lavish real estate properties in Beverly Hills in Los Angeles to a penthouse in New York.
The US also alleged that Malaysian funds were also used to purchase more than $200m of artworks by Van Gogh and Monet.
The former prime minister has denied any wrongdoing and said the money was a donation from the Saudi royal family, which he had since returned.
Under Najib, investigators also looked into the allegations against him but found no evidence of wrongdoing. The head of that investigating body has since resigned after Najib lost his premiership.
Najib’s alliance, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), unexpectedly lost last week’s parliamentary elections to his one-time mentor, Mahathir.
Meanwhile, former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim said he will “let the due process takes its place” in the case of Najib.
“I said his crime in terms of unjust incarceration and using all the institutions against me, that I am not going to pursue,” Anwar said in an interview with Al Jazeera.
“In terms of the investigations and the possible preferring of charge by the attorney general, that he has to accept.”