AFTER having hundreds of millions in assets seized and being slapped with multiple counts of graft and abuse of power charges, it seems that former Malaysian premier Najib Razak and his family appears to be unable to catch a break.
Now, a renowned jewellery firm is seeking nearly RM60 million (US$15 million) from his wife Rosmah Mansor over 44 pieces of jewellery allegedly loaned to her earlier this year.
Local reports said the cache of 44 pieces of expensive jewellery, comprising jewellery comprising a tiara, diamond necklaces, rings, bracelets and earrings, were recently seized by police during investigations against the former leader.
According to The Star, Beirut-based jewellery company Global Royalty Trading SAL has filed an RM59.8 million (US$14.8 million) suit against Rosmah at the Kuala Lumpur High Court through a local law firm on June 26.
In its claim, the company said Rosmah had signed a letter dated May 22 to acknowledge that she had received the items. However, began seizing various assets, including cash and jewellery estimated to be worth RM 1.1 billion (US$227.5 million) during a series of raids that began on May 16.
The company claims Rosmah has long been a customer who would receive consignments of the jewellery on her demand. The company added Rosmah would evaluate and purchase the items while the unwanted jewellery was returned.
The pieces of jewellery included diamond cushion ring worth US$925,000, two diamond necklaces and earrings worth US$670,000, and a diamond necklace and earrings worth US$586,000, according to the Straits Times.
The Malaysian government said it will intervene in the case as the jewellery seized were allegedly bought with stolen money.
Najib, who lost his premiership in a stunning election defeat on May 9 claimed trial to three counts of criminal breach of trust and one count of abuse of power amid an international graft probe into the country’s state fund scandal.
The latest lawsuit against his wife came following what police described as the “biggest seizure in Malaysian history”, after searching six properties owned by Najib in Kuala Lumpur and the administrative capital Putrajaya.
In recent weeks, Rosmah, who is often been compared to the opulent former Philippines First Lady Imelda Marcos, has been under investigation by the country’s anti-graft agency over the corruption probe involving her husband.
In the raids, police discovered 35 bags containing RM116.7 million (US$29 million) in cash from 26 different currencies, which took a full three days to count.
Police earlier said they were holding 25 bags of gold, diamonds and other gems, valued by an expert at RM442 million (US$110 million). In total, the authorities counted 12,000 pieces of jewellery including 1400 necklaces, 2200 rings, 2100 bangles, 2800 pairs of earrings and 14 tiaras.
A singular necklace retailed for RM6.4 million (US$1.6 million), while a collection of 567 handbags from Hermès, Prada, Chanel and special-order luxury brand Bijan were worth an estimated RM51.3 million (US$13 million).