Malaysian court rejects government’s bid to forfeit millions in assets linked to prisoned ex-PM Najib

A Malaysian court on Monday (November 14) rejected the government’s bid to forfeit luxury goods worth millions of dollars seized from the prisoned former premier Najib Razak as they lack proof that assets are connected to any criminal activity. 

Over 2,000 items of jewellery, branded watches and handbags were forfeited by the government on Monday and were rejected by the Kuala Lumpur High Court and will not be returned to Najib and his family.

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His attorney said, “The court threw it out because there is not an iota of evidence that showed that the money was the illegally obtained proceeds of a crime.” He added that these objects were presents and belonged to Najib’s family and party. 

After the court rejected a separate forfeiture claim on the confiscated funds, nearly $114 million ringgit ($24.86 million) were restored to Najib in 2021, Reuters reported. 

Due to popular outrage over his suspected participation in a multibillion-dollar fraud at a state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad, Najib was ousted from office in 2018. 

Following his loss in the elections, police seized cash and luxurious assets like jewellery and handbags worth nearly $300 million in raids on several of Najib’s properties. 

Najib was then convicted in a 1 MDB-related corruption case and is currently on a 12-year prison term. 

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Najib has been continuously refusing to do anything wrong. 

The court’s ruling comes days before the general election in which there is the possibility that Barisan Nasional from Hajib’s alliance is expected to win as the current Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob-led alliance is said to have fallen due to recent political unrest. 

(With inputs from agencies)


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