Thursday 19 September 2019

Police raid properties of ousted leader of Malaysia

Police arrive outside former prime minister Najib Razak's residence in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. REUTERS/Lai Seng Sin
Police arrive outside former prime minister Najib Razak's residence in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. REUTERS/Lai Seng Sin

Nicola Smith in Kuala Lumpur

Malaysian police have carried out raids on five properties linked to Najib Razak, the former prime minister who was ousted last week by an opposition coalition who accused his government of corruption.

The raids began late on Wednesday after Mr Najib returned from evening prayers at the mosque, and included two of his family residences in Kuala Lumpur. Investigators remained for about 12 hours, until well into yesterday morning.

Speaking outside Mr Najib's home at around 4am, his lawyer, Datuk Harpal Singh Grewal, said there was no indication of any impending arrests, reported the 'Straits Times'.

"No documents were taken, nothing of note, only personal possessions, including bags. We believe that the police will take out two to three boxes of items," he said.

Mr Najib, who is barred from leaving the country, is being investigated by the new government of Mahathir Mohamad, his former mentor turned nemesis, over a multi-billion dollar corruption scandal at the state-owned investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), which he founded.

The fund is being investigated by the authorities of at least six countries, including the US justice department, which alleges billions were laundered through layers of foreign bank accounts to finance Hollywood films and luxury goods, including jewellery and a yacht.

Jeff Sessions, the US Attorney General, described the scandal as "kleptocracy at its worst" and some of the missing money is alleged to have ended up in Mr Najib's personal bank account.

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.

Mr Mohamad (92), who came out of retirement to challenge Mr Najib, said he was confident prosecutors would soon have a strong case to charge the former leader.

He said: "We are slowly getting to the bottom of things and many of our senior officers are volunteering information accompanied, of course, by documents.

"We think that within a short while, we will have a case against him, we will be able to charge him."

Irish Independent

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