RM114 Million Worth Of Seized Assets Returned To Najib & UMNO

The prosecution failed to prove in the High Court that the assets were linked to 1MDB.

Cover image via Abd Rahim Rahmat/New Straits Times

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In a bombshell development, RM114 million worth of assets in a 1MDB-linked forfeiture suit have been returned to UMNO and its former president Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak

According to an Astro Awani report yesterday, 5 August, deputy public prosecutor Faten Hadni Khairuddin informed that the return had been made on 17 June this year.

This was after the prosecution did not appeal a High Court decision on 20 May, which held that the seized assets could not be linked to the beleaguered state-owned entity 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

The monies in question were seized in a high profile raid at Pavilion Residences in downtown Kuala Lumpur on 17 May 2018, and reportedly includes 11,991 units of jewellery, 401 watches, 16 watch accessories, 234 pairs of spectacles, and 306 luxury handbags.

Boxes of handbags being seized from the condominium by police three years ago.

Image via Ariffin Jamar/Straits Times

In the 20 May High Court ruling, Judge Datuk Muhammad Jamil Hussin had ruled that the prosecution failed to prove allegations of money laundering

The prosecution – which the government serves as party – had filed a forfeiture suit in 2019 against a certain OBYU Holdings, who owns the condominium unit. Najib and UMNO, acting as third parties, counter-claimed seeking the return of said assets.

The company in question is allegedly owned by current Works Minister Fadillah Yusof's brother, Bustari Yusof, who is a confidante of the ex-prime minister, per The Edge.

However, the High Court held that the money was not acquired through illegal means. They thus held that the predicated offence of money laundering had not occurred. 

Judge Muhammad Jamil, in delivering his verdict, said this was due to the prosecution's failure to provide any evidence to link the funds to 1MDB.

Najib Razak leaving the KL High Court after the verdict on 20 May this year.

Image via Hari Anggara/Malay Mail

However, this is not the end of Najib's legal troubles, as he has been convicted for multiple crimes, and is awaiting trial for several others

In July 2020, the ex-prime minister was ordered to pay a staggering RM1.69 billion in owed taxes to the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN).

Najib, however, has failed to pay the sum and was served with a bankruptcy notice by the statutory body in April this year.

He had also been convicted to 12 years in jail and was slapped with a RM210 million fine for corruption, arising from an alleged RM42 million he embezzled from SRC International, a subsidiary of 1MDB.

He later claimed that the RM42 million in question was for, among other things, an orphanage in his constituency of Pekan, Pahang.

According to The Star, he is currently on the docket relating to a separate RM27 million sum alleged to have been laundered from SRC International, the trial dates for which have been set for next year.

Najib's July 2020 conviction was one of many related to SRC International and 1MBD, read more about the ruling here:

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