KUALA LUMPUR: About RM114 million (US$29 million) worth of cash was found in 35 bags seized from residential premises linked to former prime minister Najib Razak, said Amar Singh, head of Malaysia's Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID), on Friday (May 25).
Another 37 bags contained jewellery and watches, he said at a news conference. The value of these goods has not been calculated yet.
The cash was found in 26 currencies, said Singh, and was seized in raids on May 18 under anti-money laundering laws. The largest amounts were in ringgit and Singapore dollars.
Three apartments were raided in Pavilion Residences in Kuala Lumpur on May 18, when police seized 284 boxes containing jewellery, designer handbags, shoes, watches and cash.
"Najib's son and daughter were living in the apartments, while a third apartment was unoccupied," said Singh.
Singh said the empty apartment in Pavillion Residences, in the Bukit Bintang neighbourhood of Kuala Lumpur, did not belong to any of Najib's family members. He declined to name the owner.
A total of 22 bank officers counted the cash from May 21 to 23 with the help of 11 counting machines, Singh added. Twenty-one bank officers from Bank Negara Malaysia (the country's central bank) and another from Bank Islam Malaysia were involved in the counting.
“After the money had been counted, it was sent to Bank Negara Malaysia,” said Singh.
Singh said most of the bags appeared to be a Hermes brand.
"We have had discussions with Hermes, and we will take pictures and send them to Paris to verify their authenticity and their value," Singh said.
Police seized a further 150 handbags from the home of Najib's daughter, Nooryana Najwa, along with various shoes, including baby shoes.
Nooryana, better known as Gina, married a nephew of Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev's three years ago.
Singh did not say what was found at the home of Najib's son Ashman.
Experts were being brought in to value the jewellery, watches and other luxury items seized during the raid.
Singh said half a million ringgit, excluding foreign currency, was found at Najib's home.
PHOTOS ON SOCIAL MEDIA ARE FAKE
Singh also said that pictures floating on social media purporting to show items seized in the May 18 raids were fake.
"The CCID officers were instructed not to carry mobile phones," said Singh. "Only the head and the deputy conducting the raids had phones, and those were for one purpose only: To call me."
He added: "No pictures were taken by officers during investigations; those that were taken were done by official photographers."
Singh also urged the public not to spread false information and fake, photos as they could "jeopardise investigations" or affect any potential prosecution hearing.
He also dismissed money found in walls and gold bars being uncovered as "fake news".
"With regards to the disappearing chocolates, I have requested for lawyers to come forward and lodge a report; they must report who took the chocolates, and I will investigate further," he said.
Since his defeat in May 9's general election, Najib has been barred from leaving the country by the new government, which has relaunched an investigation into billions of dollars missing from state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).