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Malaysia Seizes Valuables in Raid on Ex-Leader

Malaysia Seizes Valuables in Raid on Ex-LeaderMalaysia Seizes Valuables in Raid on Ex-Leader

Malaysian police seized 72 suitcases stuffed with cash and jewels along with scores of designer handbags in raids on luxury properties linked to ex-prime minister Najib Razak on Friday as a corruption probe gathered pace.

The discovery adds significantly to the peril faced by Najib, who just last week had seemed to be cruising toward an election victory, before he was unseated in a stunning upset.

A visibly shattered and anxious Najib declined to comment on the latest developments as he waded through a throng of media into a mosque for Friday afternoon prayers in the Muslim-majority country, AFP reported.

Asked to comment, Najib, 64, patted an AFP journalists’ arm and said, “Later, later”.

Police said the sheer size of the trove of cash, jewels and 284 boxes containing Hermes, Birkin and Louis Vuitton handbags prevented them from immediately estimating the haul’s value.

Extensive searches of Najib’s home and several other sites began late Wednesday, making good on a pledge by the new government headed by 92-year-old Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad to investigate the ex-leader.

Police had previously declined to comment on the raids.

But Amar Singh, head of the commercial crime investigation unit, confirmed that the latest raids early Friday were part of investigations into accusations that Najib, his family, and cronies looted billions from a state investment fund he founded.

“I can’t give an estimated value of the items,” Amar told reporters at the upscale Kuala Lumpur condo complex where the latest raids were carried out.

“We have sealed the bags but we know they contain money and we know they contain jewelry.” He said the 72 suitcases were filled with large amounts of “various currencies, including Malaysian ringgit, US dollars, watches and jewelry”.

“The amount of jewelry is rather big,” he said.

Footage captured by local media showed cardboard boxes and suitcases, sealed in plastic wrapping, being loaded into a black police truck. It took five trucks to remove all of the seized items, reports said.

 

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