Lawyer: Najib’s home raided over money-laundering probe, handbags seized

Harpal speaks to reporters outside Najib’s home in Taman Duta, May 17, 2018. He said no documents were seized or arrests made in the raid that lasted over six hours. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Harpal speaks to reporters outside Najib’s home in Taman Duta, May 17, 2018. He said no documents were seized or arrests made in the raid that lasted over six hours. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, May 17 — Police spent over six hours searching Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s private home here possibly as part of a money-laundering investigation, his lawyer Datuk Harpal Singh Grewal said.

Speaking to the press at 4am outside the former prime minister’s residence in Taman Duta, Harpal disclosed that among items confiscated by a special police taskforce reinvestigating 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) included handbags and clothing.

Despite a police source informing Malay Mail earlier that they were searching for documents related to 1MDB, the lawyer said none was taken at the end of the search that drew hundreds to gather here and thousands more to watch online.

"No documents, just some personal possessions. apparels, handbags and presents in two to three boxes... nothing incriminating.

"Datuk Seri (Najib) and his family cooperated well with the police during the search, which we believe to be performed under the money laundering act," he said in the brief press conference.

Asked why the search took so long, Harpal said Najib’s mansion was sizeable and investigators needed to comb every inch of every room.

He also confirmed that simultaneous searches were conducted elsewhere including two units at the exclusive Pavilion Residences condominium linked to Najib’s family.

Police are also understood to have visited the Prime Minister’s Office for the same operation.

Asked whether any arrest would be made, Harpal replied in the negative and added that not Najib or any of his family members was directed to provide police with statements.

"They have not been called for questioning either," he said.

Federal Commercial Crimes Investigation Department (CCID) director Commissioner Datuk Seri Amar Singh, who met with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on Monday, is leading the operation.

The raid is the latest action in the apparent dragnet forming around the defeated Najib, who led Barisan Nasional to its first and only defeat in a general election.

The late night raid was also reminiscent of those undertaken by police against Malaysians who had previously mocked or insulted Najib online.

Dr Mahathir ordered renewed investigations into 1MDB shortly after taking office and said he expects to be able to charge Najib soon.

The Auditor-General also declassified the report of her predecessor’s audit of 1MDB on Tuesday, giving Malaysians a glimpse into the irregularities involving the firm’s previous management.

Najib, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and several other senior government officials as well as former 1MDB executives have been barred from leaving the country.

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