MALAYSIA’S anti-corruption officers on Wednesday arrested the wife of Malaysia’s embattled former Prime Minister Najib Razak before bringing her to court on Thursday where she faces graft and money laundering charges.
Sources told The Star that Rosmah Mansor was arrested at about 3.20pm while giving her statement at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) office in Putrajaya, the administrative capital, after several hours of questioning.
Rosmah, who arrived at the headquarters clad in a traditional ‘baju kurung’ costume appeared calm as she passed the media crowd at about 10.42am accompanied by two of her lawyers.
The arrest came after three appointments with the MACC officials which began in June.
Earlier last month, officials said Rosmah could be hit with up to 20 criminal charges, most of them related to alleged money laundering after investigators revived a probe that began two years ago.
The investigators reopened the “Rosmah file” some four months ago, around the time she was called in by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for questioning on a probe related to the multibillion-dollar 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.
Known for her lavish lifestyle and taste for extravagant handbags and jewellery, Rosmah is country’s first former prime minister’s wife to be questioned by the MACC.
One of the allegations involved the purchase of hormone-based anti-ageing products from the United States worth just over RM1 million (US$250,000).
Investigators believed the oral dietary supplements were bought with funds stolen from a subsidiary of 1MDB.
The supplements were touted to be able to enhance hormone levels by 600 percent if consumed rigourously; boosting energy levels, improving quality of sleep, increasing sex drive, and decreasing body fat, apart from giving better skin complexion.
The sources said the investigators had traced a cheque to a local doctor for two sets of the medication worth RM500,000 (US$125,000) each.
The account linked to the cheque purportedly belonged to a Najib-linked bank account which is being scrutinised by the investigators.
Another cheque from the same account showed another RM100,000 (US$25,000) which was used for renovation works at a house in Taman Duta, the area of Rosmah’s private residence.
Najib was arrested at his home in July, less than two months after an unexpected election defeat to a coalition led by his mentor-turned-foe Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Since his ouster, police and anti-graft investigators have revived probes into missing billions related to the 1MDB state fund.