Malaysian police says cash worth RM114m found in apartment raid

Malaysian police says cash worth RM114m found in apartment raid

The government of former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak used money raised from a deal with sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Berhad to pay for some of the liabilities of state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), two sources told Reuters.

Najib is accused of siphoning millions from the state fund he created.

Police seized 284 boxes of expensive designer handbags and 72 pieces of luggage stuffed with cash, jewelry and watches from an unoccupied apartment at a high-end Kuala Lumpur condominium on May 18.

Najib and the fund deny any wrongdoing.

Najib's United Malays National Organization, which is the main party in the former ruling coalition, said in a statement that the cash seized by police was donations to the party, partly for the recent elections.

The UMNO party, meanwhile, has said the money seized from the Pavilion apartment were unused campaign contributions and asked police to return it. "UMNO is in the process of rebuilding, and return of our party funds will help in this process", it said in a statement Thursday.

1MDB is the subject of money-laundering investigations in at least six countries, including the US, Switzerland and Singapore.

Malaysian police head of commercial crime, Amar Singh said 37 other bags were also found containing jewelry and watches.

Numerous handbags were believed to be Hermes Birkins - a favourite of Najib's luxury-loving, widely despised wife Rosmah Mansor - and Singh said pictures of the bags would be sent to Hermes in Paris to get an estimate of their value.

Singh declined to say who owned the apartments, and would only refer to the owner by an honorific title.

Police seized another 150 handbags and shoes in Najib's daughter's home. Najib was grilled for more than 10 hours over two days this week by the anti-graft agency.

Lim said earlier this week the Najib government deceived the public and parliament over the country's financial situation and 1MDB, and that it had been bailing out debt-burdened 1MDB since April 2017, paying a total of 6.98 billion ringgit so far.

One of the directors had informed him a purported investment of 9.8 billion ringgit (US$2.4 billion) of 1MDB money overseas - which would be enough to service the fund's debts for several years - was in fact a "scam", Lim said.

He said government debt had ballooned to more than 1 trillion ringgit (US$251 billion) and that the Finance Ministry had bailed out 1MDB by paying almost 7 billion ringgit (US$1.76 billion) to service its debts since April 2017, contrary to 1MDB's claim that the money was from a rationalization exercise.

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