KUALA LUMPUR • Designer handbags worth millions of ringgit seized by the Malaysian police during a raid related to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal have been ruined by “magic ink” marker pens, the High Court heard.
Lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, representing former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, told the court that the police were careless while handling the luxury bags despite knowing their value and had them marked directly with “magic ink”.
“There was no respect whatsoever for the items. The handbags are worth millions and that was how they treated them,” he said on Wednesday.
The damage was discovered by Najib’s wife Rosmah Mansor and her lawyer during an inspection at Bank Negara Malaysia on Feb 22 for a separate suit.
Tan Sri Shafee raised the matter when he made another application to inspect the items, which were seized by the police from an apartment owned by Obyu Holdings after Najib’s administration lost in the 2018 general election.
The application was in relation to the government’s forfeiture suit against Obyu Holdings.
Mr Shafee said that the police failed to follow procedures when they conducted the seizures.
But Deputy Public Prosecutor Faten Hadni Khairuddin said these were serious allegations against the police, adding that the items were kept in a vault at Bank Negara accessible only to authorised personnel.
The prosecution objected to the application on the grounds that the items involved a high value as well as concerns about security.
After hearing the submissions, High Court Judge Muhammad Jamil Hussin allowed Najib’s application to inspect the items in the presence of his lawyer.
The prosecution had filed the application last year to forfeit the assets seized from premises belonging to Obyu Holdings and were allegedly linked to the 1MDB scandal under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.
Najib was the third party in the forfeiture’s application.
Obyu Holdings is owned by Tan Sri Bustari Yusuf, the younger brother of Works Minister Fadillah Yusof.
In the notice of motion filed against Obyu Holdings, the items included 11,991 units of jewellery, 401 watches and 16 watch accessories, 234 pairs of eyewear and 306 handbags, as well as cash in various denominations amounting to RM114,164,393.44 (S$37.2 million).
In addition, a piece of property in Kuala Lumpur was also seized on Nov 1, 2018.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK