Malaysia: Cash, valuables recovered in probe against ex-PM Najib Razak
Malaysian politics had its earth-shattering moment on Friday, May 18, when the country's police seized over 280 designer handbags and more than 70 suitcases filled with cash, jewellery and other valuables as part of an investigation into corruption and money-laundering charges against former prime minister Najib Razak.
The raids began late on Thursday, May 17, at apartments linked to the former premier at a posh condominium in capital Kuala Lumpur.
Razak, 64, was ousted in recent parliamentary election after a nine year rule as Malaysia saw the six-decade-old ruling party losing - something which happened for the first time in the country's independent history.
Authorities said the raids were a part of the probe into the 1MDB (Malaysia Development Berhard) state fund corruption, something which is also being investigated internationally. American investigators alleged that Razak's associates siphoned off $4.5 billion from the fund, some of which landed in the former PM' bank account and a whopping $23 million was used to buy a diamond jewellery for Razak's wife.
Razak denied the charges of wrongdoing in what is being termed as the world's biggest financial scandal but the latest raids and recovery could turn the story for the man who is no longer in power.
The media also aired pictures of police officials taking away orange boxes containing handbags and other luggage from the condominium.
The revelations came just days after 92-year-old Mahathir Mohamad, who had earlier served as the head of state of Malaysia for over two decades, returned to power after the May 9 elections.
He reopened the probe into 1MDB scandal and said initial investigation showed that the issue was more serious than expected. He also said that the law will not spare the offenders if there is evidence.
Several police vehicles were also seen outside Razak's residence on Friday, giving rise to speculation of his arrest. Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor have been asked not to leave the shores.
The Mahathir government has also set up a five-member committee to look after the 1MDB issue.