Valuables seized by police from properties related to former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak are worth up to $273 million (R3.8 billion).
Jewellery, handbags, watches and other items were all seized last month during raids on six properties as part of an investigation into how billions of dollars went missing from the state investment fund 1MDB. Najib lost last month's election after his popularity began to plummet from 1MDB-related financial scandals, including hundreds of millions of dollars that were reportedly found in his personal bank accounts.
Amar Singh, head of Malaysia's Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID), said in a press conference on Wednesday that the raids led to the "biggest seizure in Malaysia's history".
The seized items included 12,000 pieces of jewellery, 567 handbags, 423 watches, and 234 pairs of sunglasses.
"Among them were 1,400 necklaces, 2,200 rings, 2,100 bangles, 2,800 pairs of earrings, 1,600 brooches and 14 tiaras," Singh said. "We took 16 days to count."
The jewellery also included one diamond and yellow gold necklace worth $1.5 million (R20 million). It also took eight days to count and then value the 100 different brands of watches.
Last month, Singh announced that 26 different currencies totaling $28.6 million (R398 million) had been taken from an empty apartment in the same building as Najib's son and daughter. There were so many notes, 11 counting machines and 22 bank officers were required over three days.
Hundreds of luxury handbags were also reported by Singh at the time, who said Hermes was cooperating in providing a value for the bags, which can cost up to $200,000 (R2.7 million).
The announcement of the raids' findings has been done in stages purely for logistical reasons, according to the police.
“We couldn’t do the counting at the premises because the numbers were too huge,” Singh said.
The raided properties were Najib's official residence and office, three units the Pavilion Residences building and another of Najib's homes. The empty apartment was where most of the items were taken from.
Singh said Najib and his wife will soon be called in for questioning on the items and to determine their ownership.
Malaysia's new prime minister, 92-year-old Mahathir Mohamad, told Reuters last week there's an "almost perfect" case against Najib's role in the 1MDB scandal.
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