Najib: I did not authorise public funds to buy diamonds, yacht, I have 'sterling record'

Najib: I did not authorise public funds to buy diamonds, yacht, I have 'sterling record'
PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

KUALA LUMPUR - Former premier Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has reiterated that he had no role in the alleged embezzlement of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) funds.

The US Department of Justice claimed the funds were used to procure diamonds, properties, artwork, a superyacht and even bankroll an Oscar-nominated movie.

Najib told Malaysiakini in an interview that it would be absurd of him to authorise the use of public funds for such things.

"I didn't consent to any of these things. I am not party to all this.

"1MDB paid the money as per the joint-venture agreements with the foreign countries but once the money was paid, I have no control over what they did with the money.

"In fact, I have never seen the yacht except in pictures subsequently (in the media).

"I have never seen the paintings. I don't know what kind of paintings, and certainly, if you were to use 1MDB funds for that, I certainly would have never approved," he added.

Also read: Malaysia seeks to lay multiple charges against ex-premier Najib over 1MDB: Mahathir

Najib, who chaired the 1MDB advisory board, pointed out that he had held similar positions in other organisations and such problems did not arise.

"I have been in public service for so long and I have a sterling record. And it goes to show, if I was the final authority on all this, I would never have approved this.

"It doesn't make sense. Why would I as prime minister approve public funds to buy yachts and paintings? It is just crazy.

"It is something which in my wildest dreams, I would never, ever approve or condone," he added.

However, the Pekan MP said if public funds were indeed used to acquire the alleged items, then appropriate action must be taken against those individuals responsible.

"But if that is the case, then I hope a proper investigation will be done and whatever appropriate actions be taken against those responsible if public funds were really used," he added.

Najib said that after 1MDB had run into problems, the company's main focus had always been on the rationalisation exercise and the negotiations with the foreign countries in question to ensure that Malaysia would not incur any losses.

Malaysian police search places linked to ousted PM Najib

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    The cash and items seized from the six residences linked to Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak amounted to between RM900 million (S$304 million) and RM1.1 billion, say the police.

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    He said that more than 12,000 pieces of jewellery - comprising 2,200 rings, 1,400 necklaces, 2,100 bracelets, 2,800 pairs of earrings,1,600 brooches and 14 tiaras were seized.

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    He added that this was the biggest seizure in Malaysian history.

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    Najib's wife Rosmah Mansor arrived at the headquarters of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to have her statement recorded in connection with a suspicious transfer of about $10.6 million (S$14.2 million) from the former 1MDB unit SRC International.

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    The sum is just a fraction of the billions of dollars allegedly siphoned from 1MDB, the state fund that Najib set up, in a scandal that dogged the last three years of his near-decade-long rule and was a key reason why he was voted out in a May 9 election.

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    M. Puravalen, a lawyer acting for Najib and Rosmah in connection with the SRC investigations, told Reuters on Tuesday he had "ceased acting" for Najib and Rosmah.

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    He said a second lawyer, Yusof Zainal Abideen, had also quit.

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    Puravalen, Abideen and other members of their legal team were reported to have walked out because they failed to reach common ground with Najib on several issues.

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    Najib has already made a series of statements to anti-graft investigators

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    but attention has shifted to his wife after police discovered hundreds of luxury handbags and a stash of jewelry and cash during raids on apartments linked to Najib and his family.

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    Malaysian police have seized 284 boxes filled with designer handbags, watches, jewellery and cash in various currencies from three luxury condominiums.

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    Comm Amar said the designer handbags were of various brands including Louis Vuitton and Birkin bags from Hermes.

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    He added that it was impossible for police to estimate the value of the items seized because there were just too many items and cash seized.

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    He also said that the apartment was not owned by Najib but a "Tan Sri".

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    Federal Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) director Comm Datuk Seri Amar Singh, who led the raids at Pavilion Residences here said this was part of its investigations into 1MDB.

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    This follows a police check of six locations linked to former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak here and in Putrajaya, including the Prime Minister's Office, his official residence as well as four other residences.

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    When asked whether Najib would be arrested, he said: "There is no indication that they (the police) will do it."

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    He said Najib and his family were cooperative with police. "They (the police) also acted professionally," he said.

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