Friday, June 29, 2018

The Najib Chronicles #04: RM1.1 Billion Worth of Valuables

Malaysian police were again busy.

On June 12, 2018, they raided two properties located in Putrajaya’s Precinct 10 and Precinct 11 which are part of the authorities' probe on former prime minister Najib Razak and the scandal-ridden 1MDB. 

From the first bungalow, China Press and Malaysiakini had reported that luxury items – said to include forty handbags as well as branded shoes and jewellery – and stacks of documents were seized. 

The property which is only about 200m from Seri Perdana, the official residence of the prime minister of Malaysia belonged to the Property Management Division of the Prime Minister’s Department and it had been described as a Najib "safe house".

In fact, one pensioner who stayed just doors away said the place had been empty for the past year.

We are told that nothing was seized from the second house.

Fifteen days later, Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation Department director, Commissioner Amar Singh revealed at a news conference that the final valuation of cash, designer handbags, jewellery and other luxury items had added up to a gargantuan total of RM 1.1 billion!

PDRM's Amar Singh and his officers show photos of some of the valuables seized in the raids conducted on Najib Razak’s properties. Malaysian Insight pic by Nazir Sufari, June 27, 2018. 

Pix by Zulfadhli Zulkifli, New Straits Times, June 27, 2018

The Malaysian Insight pic by Nazir Sufari, June 27, 2018.

He said 150 persons in eight special teams were involved in the counting and valuation process and which includes verifying the authenticity of the seized items. He also said many of the items had to be assessed by experts from abroad. 

The tallying exercise took 36 days (May 21 to June 25, 2018) due to the large number of valuables – easily more than 12,000 items. 

According to The Sun, police confirmed there were 272 Hermes bags worth RM51.3 million in total but it seems that another 567 handbags of 37 high-end brands that have yet to be valued. 

Amar did single out the custom-made Bijan bags which he said are worth RM1.6 million. 

I am wondering about the gold bars that were reportedly found too. No mention on Wednesday at all.

Anyway, in the booty, there were 423 timepieces from more than 100 high-end brands – these included Rolex, Cecil Purnell, Chopard, Patek Philippe, Paul Picot, Richard Mille and others – with a total value of RM78 million. 

The most valuable timepiece was a rare Rolex ‘Paul Newman’ Daytona, estimated to be worth RM3.5 million. 

The haul also included 234 pairs of sunglasses from luxury labels like Versace, Gucci and Cartier and they are valued at RM374,000. 

And the jewellery items were something else. These “adornments” have been appraised to cost RM440 million, but their market value is estimated at between RM660 million and RM880 million. 

Amar identified the single most expensive piece of jewellery – a yellow and gold necklace valued at RM6.4 million. He made it known that the market price of this particular necklace is another 50 to 100 percent more. 

Here’s the itemised list: 

[There seems to be a disparity in the number of brooches. Bernama stated 2,800 pieces; New Straits TImes and Channel News Asia put the figure at 1,600]. 

Insofar as the cash is concerned, the total amount is RM116.7 million in 26 currencies. (It had been reported previously that the cash confiscated totalled RM114 million – see my post “Money, Money, Money” dated June 03, 2018). 

Amar did mention that nobody from UMNO has come forward to claim the money – "We won't know. The word 'UMNO' wasn't printed on the money”, he had cheekily commented. 

Najib, his wife Rosmah Mansor and their alleged “gift givers” can be expected to be called up soon for police questioning. 

There is no let-up in the 1MDB investigations.

Anyway, Malaysians can look forward to hearing more protestations and denials from the former prime minister! 

Thick-skinned Najib will surely want to make himself heard loud and clear! Shameless scoundrel!

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