Najib’s lawyer: Luxury handbags seized in May 2018 raid ruined by marker pen labels

File photo showing investigators lifting sealed boxes believed to contain luxury designer bags onto a Black Maria outside Pavilion Residences in Kuala Lumpur May 18, 2018. — Picture by Hari Anggara
File photo showing investigators lifting sealed boxes believed to contain luxury designer bags onto a Black Maria outside Pavilion Residences in Kuala Lumpur May 18, 2018. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, June 10 — Costly handbags seized during the police’s 1MDB-linked raids in May 2018 had allegedly been “destroyed” due to the use of marker pen directly on their surfaces to label them, former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s lawyer claimed today according to local news reports.

Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah reportedly made the accusation when arguing that his client should be allowed to inspect the items seized in the May 2018 raids from Pavilion condominium units that were linked to Najib.

In news reports by New Straits Times (NST) and The Edge, Shafee was reported claiming that the police allegedly had no respect for the seized luxury items when tagging them.

“During the seizure, the police had removed labels my client had kept on all of these items, we need to inspect and certify if these items are correct,” he was quoted saying by The Edge.

“The expensive handbags are all destroyed because the police labelled them with a magic marker. They wrote on the handbags, these are expensive items, the police had no respect,” he added.

Among other things, The Edge reported Shafee as claiming that the police had forcefully entered the apartment without its owner being present, also accusing the police of not properly documenting the seized items.

According to NST, Shafee reportedly claimed that the police’s search list did not properly set out the details of the content of boxes removed from the Pavilion Residences units.

Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah reportedly  claimed that the police allegedly had no respect for the seized luxury items when tagging them. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah reportedly claimed that the police allegedly had no respect for the seized luxury items when tagging them. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

The NST reported deputy public prosecutor Fatnin Yusof as saying however that all the seized items have proper documentation, also rebutting the claims of the seized items being destroyed by saying that these were stored under tight controls in Bank Negara Malaysia’s vaults.

These arguments were raised during the hearing of Najib’s application to be allowed to inspect the items seized during the raid, with Fatnin reported urging for the application to be dismissed due to security considerations with the seized items valued at more than RM680 million.

The reports said High Court judge Datuk Muhammad Jamil Hussin then allowed Najib together with one lawyer to physically inspect the seized items.

The Edge said most of the seized items belong to Najib’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.

In this court matter filed on May 14, 2019 against Obyu Holdings Sdn Bhd, the Malaysian government is seeking the forfeiture of 11,991 pieces of jewellery, 401 watches and 16 watch accessories, 234 sunglasses and 306 handbags seized in May 2019, and RM114,164,393.44 or over RM114 million worth of cash in multiple currencies that were seized in January 2019.

Separately, national news agency Bernama today reported that Rosmah and Lebanese jewellery company Global Royalty Trading (SAL) had yet to physically inspect the seized items despite a March court order allowing them to do so within 30 days from the court order, due to the movement control order that was imposed amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

High Court judge Muhammad Jamil today reportedly directed those involved to apply for an extension of time of the court order regarding the seized items.

On March 11, the High Court had allowed Rosmah’s and Global Royalty’s applications to physically inspect the seized items, but with the conditions that the inspections be carried out only by them and their lawyers under the prosecution’s supervision at designated premises, and within 30 days of the court order.

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