1MDB trial: Seized jewellery, watches, handbags bought using 1MDB funds

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Seized items valued at RM80 million.


The High Court was told that 2,435 pieces of jewellery, seven watches and 29 handbags valued at RM80 million, seized in a raid at a premises belonging to Obyu Holdings Sdn Bhd at Pavilion Residences, were from misappropriated 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) funds.

Deputy public prosecutor, Harris Ong Mohd Jeffry Ong said this was reinforced by the fact of the established direct dealings between Datuk Seri Najib Razak, businessman Low Taek Jo or Jho Low and his close associate Eric Tan Kim Loong, through Good Star and Blackstone Asia Real Estate Partners.

“The principal source of the monies in Datuk Seri Najib’s AmBank account ending with 694 was derived from monies transferred from Good Star and Blackstone Asia Real Estate Partners which are companies controlled by Jho Low and Eric Tan,” he said in his written submission in the government’s bid to forfeit the seized items on Monday (Sept 26).

He said Good Star, Jho Low, Saudi’s Prince Faisal and Prince Saud, Blackstone Asia Real Estate Partners and Najib did not have any connection or business dealings with 1MDB to justify their receipt of such amounts of monies from 1MDB.

“There were no business or commercial reasons for such movements of monies.

“Therefore, the monies acquired by Good Star in its account number 1116073 at RBS Coutts Bank was obtained through criminal conduct, namely, criminal breach of trust by an agent under Section 409 of the Penal Code.

“The subsequent movement of monies from Good Star into Prince Faisal and Prince Saud’s Riyad Bank account and ultimately into Datuk Seri Najib’s AmBank account ending with 694 satisfies the elements of money laundering, which is an offence under Section 4(1) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLATFPUAA) and the offence of dishonestly receiving stolen property under Section 411 of the Penal Code” he said.

DPP Harris Ong further said that the opening of Najib’s AmBank account (9694) solely to receive 1MDB monies from Good Star and Aabar and followed by Tanore, and the subsequent layering by the opening of Najib AmBank account (1880), AmIslamic (1906) and (1898).

He said the absence of any justification afforded by Najib, satisfied the element of money laundering under Section 4(1).

The items seized by police from the premises belonging to Obyu Holdings at Pavilion Residences in May 2018, were allegedly linked to the 1MDB financial scandal. In 2019, the prosecution filed the forfeiture application to seize the items.

Najib and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor are the third parties wanting to claim the jewellery and wrist watches in a forfeiture application filed by the prosecution against Obyu Holdings, owned by businessman Tan Sri Bustari Yusof.

Meanwhile, lawyer Tania Scivetti representing Najib, argued that seven pieces of Richard Mille brand wrist watches were gifts to Najib and there was no nexus between the seized wrist watches and 1MDB funds.

She said based on an affidavit of 1MDB investigating officer Supt Foo Wei Min, he confirmed that some of the wrist watches were gifts but there was no conclusive evidence as to the same.

“In the circumstances, we pray that the application be dismissed and the seized watches be immediately returned to Datuk Seri Najib,” she said.

Najib’s lead counsel, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said among the seven watches, was one purchased by Global Oriented Bhd under an individual named, ‘Datuk Francis’, as proven by the cheque issued by Taman Equine (M) Sdn Bhd, while another wrist watch was purchased and paid for by Datuk Desmond Lim via credit card.

“Another wrist watch was purchased by a ‘YTL Datuk Francis’ and the mode of payment was a cheque issued by a construction company, Yeoh Tiong Lay Sdn Bhd,” he said.

Judge Datuk Muhammad Jamil Hussin fixed Nov 14 for decision.

Before the submissions, DPP Harris Ong informed the court that one of the 2,436 pieces of jewellery had been returned to Global Royalty Trading.

Lawyer Datuk David Gurupatham representing the Lebanese jewellery company, Global Royalty Trading SAL, said the Attorney General’s Chambers was satisfied with the representation made in claiming a diamond-studded white gold bracelet.

“The bracelet, kept in the Bank Negara Malaysia vault, was then taken out and has become the property of that company. Hence, we are withdrawing our claim before the court,” he added.