Malaysia fails in its bid to forfeit luxury goods seized from former PM

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MALAYSIA’S government failed in its attempt to forfeit luxury items seized from former Prime Minister Najib Razak and his family members.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court on Monday dismissed the suit, saying the government failed to prove that the goods were bought using 1MDB funds. The government will appeal the decision, Deputy Public Prosecutor Harris Ong Mohd Jeffery Ong said.

“It is apparent that the investigating officer came to this conclusion based on his presumption. This is insufficient as they need to credibly prove a direct link between the money that was gained illegally to the cash found as well as the items bought,” Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan said.

The ruling follows the government’s failed court bid in May to prove the 114 million ringgit ($27 million) seized from a residence linked to Mr. Najib was part of 1MDB’s stolen funds. Mr. Najib had claimed the cash was for election purposes.

The cash and the luxury goods were part of the 1.1 billion ringgit of items seized in 2018 amid investigations into 1MDB. The inventory included a 6.4 million ringgit diamond necklace, Hermes bags and Rolex watches.

The raids occurred a month after Najib’s coalition lost the national elections, the first change in government since Malaysia achieved interdependence from Britain in 1957. — Bloomberg