Rosmah Mansor, wife of Malaysia's Najib, questioned for hours by anti-graft agency

Rosmah Mansor, wife of Malaysia's Najib, questioned for hours by anti-graft agency

Rosmah leaves MACC
Rosmah Mansor, wife of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, arrives at the Anti-Corruption Agency for questioning in Putrajaya, Malaysia on Jun 5, 2018. (Photo: AP/Vincent Thian)

KUALA LUMPUR: Rosmah Mansor, the wife of former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, gave her statement on Tuesday (Jun 5) at the headquarters of the anti-graft commission on investigations into a former unit of state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

She was quizzed for about four hours by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to assist in their probe into a suspicious transfer of about US$10.6 million into Najib's personal bank account that has been traced to the former 1MDB unit SRC International.

SRC International was set up in 2011 by the previous Barisan Nasional government and was a unit of the scandal-plagued 1MDB before it was placed under the Finance Ministry in 2012.

"Datin Rosmah gave her utmost cooperation during the process and was treated well by investigation officers," Rosmah's legal team told the media after her questioning by the MACC. 

They added that MACC officers had completed recording her statement and that she will "extend further cooperation" as and when it is sought.

The nature of the questioning was not made public and Rosmah's lawyers refused to answer any further questions from the media.

But Abdul Razak Idris, former investigations and intelligence director at the MACC, earlier told AFP that Rosmah would likely "be asked to reveal her bank accounts and explain about the source of the cash and jewellery found by police in two condominiums recently."

LUXURY-LOVING

MACC issued a notice to Rosmah last Friday to be at its headquarters at 11am to give a statement. The notice was handed over by an MACC officer at Rosmah and Najib's residence in Jalan Langgak Duta, said a source at the anti-graft body. 

Known for her love of luxury clothes and handbags, Rosmah arrived at the MACC headquarters at about 10.43am in a three-car convoy.

Flanked by security guards and her lawyers, she stepped out of a silver Mercedes carrying a bright red handbag that appeared to be a model made by Italian luxury fashion brand Versace. 

The bag was instantly trending on Malaysian social media groups, and some identified it as a Versace Demetra estimated to cost about US$2,500.

Rosmah was accompanied by her daughter Nooryana Najwa.

Najib, defeated in a stunning election loss last month by his mentor-turned-rival, Mahathir Mohamad, has become the subject of a money-laundering probe. 

Billions of dollars were allegedly stolen from the 1MDB fund - founded by Najib - with the money used to buy items ranging from Picasso artworks to high-end real estate.

Both Najib, who gave gave statements to the MACC last month, and the fund have consistently denied any wrongdoing. He and Rosmah have been barred from leaving the country.

Piling more pressure on Najib, Malaysia's new finance minister Lim Guan Eng revealed plans to report to the anti-graft agency upfront payments of 8.25 billion ringgit (US$2 billion) or 88 per cent of the total value of two pipeline projects awarded to China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau (CCPB), although they are less than 15 per cent complete.

LAWYERS QUIT

Attention has focused on Rosmah after police discovered hundreds of luxury handbags and a stash of jewellery and cash during raids on apartments linked to Najib and his family.

Malaysian police have said cash of RM114 million (US$28.6 million) and more than 400 handbags were seized. Experts were being brought in to value the jewellery, watches and other seized items. 

Earlier on Tuesday, some lawyers representing Najib and Rosmah on the SRC case said they had quit.

M Puravalen, a lawyer acting for Najib and Rosmah in connection with the SRC investigations, told Reuters on Tuesday he had "ceased acting" for Najib and Rosmah.

He said a second lawyer, Yusof Zainal Abideen, had also quit. News site The Malaysian Insight reported that Puravalen, Abideen and other members of their legal team had walked out because they failed to reach common ground with Najib on several issues.

Abideen could not be reached immediately reached for comment.

Source: Agencies/ec

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