Umno claims millions of dollars seized by police from Najib belongs to the party

PHOTO: The Straits Times

PETALING JAYA - Umno is seeking to recover party funds seized by police from residential units linked to former prime minister Najib Razak.

Malaysia's biggest political party claimed that the money was being transferred to Umno's acting leadership after Datuk Seri Najib had resigned.

The cash in various currencies seized from apartments linked to Mr Najib at the Pavilion Residences in Kuala Lumpur last week has reached nearly RM130 million (S$43.8 million) as investigators finally concluded the counting task.

They also said the gems and jewellery seized are worth in the region of RM200 million, but professional jewellers would be called in to do a proper estimate.

The Umno communications team, in a statement on Thursday (May 24), said the party Constitution allows for Umno presidents to source and manage funds, including those for the general election.

The statement said: "This was no different from our former president Najib, who had sourced for campaign contributions prior to GE14, and was managing our party's funding.

"However, the remainder of these funds were seized by police after Najib stepped down as Umno and Barisan Nasional president, before it could be transferred to the current acting leadership."

The statement did not say why these funds were not transferred to the party earlier, including for use during the general election on May 9, or why the banknotes were from different countries.

Mr Najib stepped down as Umno president on May 12, three days after the Umno-led Barisan Nasional shockingly lost in the polls.

Umno said that when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had stepped down as Umno president in 2003, he had also handed back RM1.2 billion to the party and its three million members.

The statement said: "Umno seeks to recover these funds and requests the police to release and return them to the party after completion of all investigations.

"Umno is in the process of rebuilding and the return of our party funds will help in this process."

Malaysian police search places linked to ousted PM Najib

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • He added that this was the biggest seizure in Malaysian history.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • He said a second lawyer, Yusof Zainal Abideen, had also quit.
  • 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.
  • Najib has already made a series of statements to anti-graft investigators
  • 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.
  • Malaysian police have seized 284 boxes filled with designer handbags, watches, jewellery and cash in various currencies from three luxury condominiums.
  • Comm Amar said the designer handbags were of various brands including Louis Vuitton and Birkin bags from Hermes.
  • 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.
  • He also said that the apartment was not owned by Najib but a "Tan Sri".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • When asked whether Najib would be arrested, he said: "There is no indication that they (the police) will do it."
  • He said Najib and his family were cooperative with police. "They (the police) also acted professionally," he said.
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