KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian police seized 284 boxes containing designer handbags and dozens of bags stuffed with cash and jewellery from a private residence linked to former prime minister Najib Razak on Friday (May 18) morning.
The items were carted out of a luxury condominium during pre-dawn hours, and included "jewellery, watches and other valuables", police said.
Amar Singh, head of the Malaysian police commercial crime investigation unit, told media early Friday at one of the raid sites that the value of what was seized was impossible to immediately estimate due to its sheer volume.
"Our personnel checked these bags and discovered various currencies including Malaysian ringgit, US dollars, watches and jewellery in 72 bags," he said.
Singh said among the seized handbags were Hermes and Louis Vuitton brands.
Police have carried out raids on six premises, which include the prime minister's office and the prime minister's official residence in Putrajaya and four private residences linked to the former premier, Singh said.
He confirmed that the raids are related to an investigation into a multi-billion scandal involving the Najib-founded state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
“The inspections were conducted simultaneously. As for inspections at the Jalan Raja Chulan luxury condominiums, there was no obstruction or individuals (preventing) the police from carrying out their work at the premises.
“For the raid at the posh residences, the police had obtained the necessary search warrant. The search was completed within two-and-a-half hours,” added Singh.
On the raids at the five other locations, he said among the goods seized were documents believed to be linked to 1MDB and the raids would go on until the completion of the investigations.
On media reports that claimed the seized goods included gold bars, Singh declined comment.
Asked whether the goods were sufficient evidence to prosecute Najib, he said the decision was up to Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun.
“I only received orders to conduct the raids with regard to the 1MDB case,” he added.
Singh also explained that the iron safe found in Najib's residence at Jalan Langgak Duta, Taman Duta, was still in the process of being drilled to be opened.
“We have investigated this case with professionalism ... I have also instructed all my personnel to conduct a detailed and thorough investigation,” he said.
Malaysia's newly-elected Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has barred Najib and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, from leaving the country. At least six countries, including the United States, are investigating 1MDB. Najib denies any wrongdoing.