KUALA LUMPUR: Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak told the High Court on Thursday (Jan 9) that his wife Rosmah Mansor purchased a piece of jewellery worth RM3.3 million (US$807,000) in Italy by using his credit card in 2014.
The 67-year-old, who was also previously Malaysia's finance minister, said the purchase made at a jewellery boutique in August 2014 was a gift for the wife of the Qatari prime minister.
READ: ‘Darling, you are the PM … take charge’: Rosmah tells Najib in leaked audio clips linked to 1MDB scandal
When cross-examined by ad-hoc prosecutor, V. Sithambaram, Najib said he had asked his wife to make the purchase.
Najib had previously told the court that he spent the amount on jewellery.
“It was a piece of jewellery,” said Najib when questioned by Sithambaram on the actual number of pieces of jewellery that were bought at the boutique.
Sithambaram then asked Najib to refer to his bank statement, dated September 2014, which revealed the purchase of 10 items.
After referring to the statement, Najib then said it looked like it was a set of jewellery.
"Looks like it is a set. But I have to check with my wife. She purchased the item," said Najib.
"Yes, only a woman knows what another woman likes," said Sithambaram in jest.
Najib said the gift was sent to the foreign dignitary’s wife through a protocol officer, and that was normal practice.
Najib had earlier testified that the gift was to reciprocate the presents that the Sheikh and his wife had given to him and Rosmah during their visits to Malaysia.
He also said that he could not recall if the purported billions of ringgit in donations that was received from the Saudi royal family was used for relief efforts in the 2014 Kelantan floods.
The Pekan Member of Parliament also testified that his personal credit card spending of thousands of ringgit was not significant in light of the donation he received from the Saudi royal family.
PURCHASES WERE "NOT SIGNIFICANT": NAJIB
Najib was also grilled by Sithambaram over numerous personal spending of thousands of ringgit in his credit card statement.
During the last proceeding, Najib said that the only significant personal spending charged to his credit card was the purchase of a RM466,330.11 Chanel watch for his wife Rosmah, which he bought because he felt guilty for having to postpone a family vacation.
"I put it to you that your statement that the luxury watch was your only personal spending is not correct," said Sithambaram.
"I have to qualify that the watch was substantial. The other expenditures are not significant," replied Najib.
"Still, there were other (thousands of ringgit) expenditure including hotel stays in Rome, Bali and Bangkok," countered Sithambaram.
"Yes, but they were not significant," said Najib.
"Not significant based on the Arab donation?" asked Sithambaram.
"Yes," said Najib.
"Significant for other people," Sithambaram retorted.
Najib is making his defence on seven charges of misappropriating RM42 million in SRC International funds, comprising three counts of criminal breach of trust, three counts of money laundering and one count of abuse of position in relation to the SRC funds.
The trial before Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali will continue on Jan 20.
Najib faces 42 criminal charges in five separate trials related to the alleged theft of billions of dollars from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), the subject of investigations in at least six countries including the United States, Singapore, and Switzerland. He has pleaded not guilty.
Malaysian and American authorities say about US$4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB, co-founded by Najib in 2009.