Prosecution fails to link RM114m cash seized in Najib’s condo to 1MDB

by RAHIMI YUNUS / pic by BERNAMA

THE prosecution has failed to connect the money seized in a Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak-linked condominium to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

The Kuala Lumpur (KL) High Court has dismissed the government’s bid to forfeit RM114 million in cash that was seized at the Pavilion Residences on May 17, 2018.

Judge Datuk Muhammad Jamil Hussin also ruled that the prosecution has failed to tie the funds to any criminal breach of trust case.

“As the predicate offence was not proven, the issue that the monies were obtained from illegal activities do not arise. Thus, it cannot be said that the money to be forfeited is the result of the conduct of the predicate offence,” Muhammad Jamil said at the hearing yesterday.

He added that the applicant failed to prove that the money, amounting to RM114,164,393.44, was proceeds from money laundering.

The judge, however, made no order for the money, which is held by Bank Negara Malaysia, to be returned to the owners.

In 2018, the police conducted a raid at the luxury unit in KL, owned by Obyu Holdings Sdn Bhd, a month after the collapse of Najib’s government after the 14th General Election.

The authorities netted 284 boxes of handbags and 72 bags containing cash, jewellery and expensive watches, including the RM114 million in 26 currencies — the biggest haul in Malaysian history.

Umno and Najib are third-party claimants to the monies.

In 2019, the prosecution filed a forfeiture application against Obyu Holdings to forfeit the monies, 11,991 units of jewellery, 401 watches and 16 watch accessories, 234 pairs of spectacles and 306 handbags.

The ruling on the government’s forfeiture bid came amid Najib’s ongoing 1MDB trial, which ended early yesterday upon request from his lead defence counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdulllah.

Muhammad Shafee’ money-laundering case involving RM9.5 million will commence today at the KL High Court.

The lawyer allegedly received the money from Najib via a cheque for RM4.3 million on Sept 13, 2013, and another for RM5.2 million on Feb 17, 2014.