MALAYSIAN police have seized 284 boxes filled with designer handbags, watches, jewellery and cash in various currencies from three luxury condominiums linked to ousted prime minister Najib Razak.
Federal Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) director Comm Datuk Seri Amar Singh, who led the raids at the elite Pavilion Residences in central Kuala Lumpur, said this was part of investigations into allegations of corruption surrounding a state fund created by Najib.
“Our personnel checked these bags and discovered various currencies including Malaysian Ringgit, US Dollars, watches and jewellery in 72 bags,” he told reporters during an early morning press conference, as quoted by The Star.
The designer handbags, he said, included exquisite, Louis Vuitton and Birkin bags from Hermes.
He said it was “impossible” for police to estimate the value of the items seized due to its sheer volume.
“Though we have finished searching these apartments, the operations will continue. Our team has been working tirelessly for two days investigating the case,” he said.
Singh earlier confirmed with Reuters that the raids on the premises are related to an investigation into a multi-billion scandal involving the Najib-founded state fund 1MalaysiaDevelopment Berhad (1MDB).
Amar said police have carried out raids on six premises, which include the prime minister’s office and the prime minister’s official residence in Putrajaya and four private residences linked to the former premier.
Najib’s lawyer earlier said the former premier had felt “harassed” over the early morning raids by dozens of police at his private residence. However, the police maintained that they were merely performing their duties.
“Our motive is not to harass or disturb anyone but this is a high-profile case and we are conducting a thorough investigation. If our search has to take a certain amount of time, it will take that amount of time. We are doing it as meticulously as we can,” Amar said.
Malaysia’s newly-elected Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has barred Najib and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, from leaving the country. At least six countries, including the United States, are investigating 1MDB. Najib denies any wrongdoing.