Thu, Oct 04, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Ex-Malaysian PM’s wife arrested

DUAL INTERROGATION:Rosmah Mansor could face 15 years in jail if convicted of the ‘number of charges’ she faces, most of which are related to money laundering

AP, KUALA LUMPUR

Rosmah Mansor, wife of former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, yesterday arrives at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission headquarters in Putrajaya, Malaysia.

Photo: EPA

The wife of former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak was arrested yesterday by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and is expected to be charged in a scandal involving the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) state investment fund, a government official said.

The official, who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter, said that Rosmah Mansor was arrested after she was questioned by the commission for a third time over alleged theft and money laundering at the fund.

Rosmah’s lawyer, K. Kumaraendran, confirmed her arrest, but declined to give details.

The commission in a statement said it arrested Rosmah, 66, in relation to money laundering investigations after getting approval from state prosecutors.

“Following this, Rosmah will face a number of charges,” it said, adding that she would be taken to court early today to be charged.

A commission official said that Rosmah could face up to 15 years in jail if convicted on each charge.

She was expected to spend the night at the commission headquarters in Putrajaya.

Wearing a bright green traditional dress, Rosmah smiled at reporters, but did not speak as she arrived at the commission’s building.

She was first summoned on June 5 and again on Wednesday last week, when she was questioned for nearly 13 hours.

Local media have reported that she could face up to 20 charges, mostly related to money laundering.

Najib has pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of money laundering, corruption, abuse of power and criminal breach of trust in the scandal and is to face trial next year.

Earlier yesterday, Najib was questioned by the Malaysian Commercial Crime Investigation Department over the 1MDB scandal. He dodged reporters waiting for him outside the building.

Rosmah, 66, is widely reviled for her opulent lifestyle, and penchant for expensive jewelry and designer Birkin bags.

Police found hundreds of luxury handbags, jewelry and cash worth more than US$266 million during raids on apartments linked to the family shortly after Najib’s electoral defeat in May.

Seized were 567 handbags, 423 watches and 12,000 pieces of jewelry, including 1,400 necklaces, 2,200 rings, 2,800 pairs of earrings and 14 tiaras. Najib has said the items were mostly gifts to his family.

In a biography in 2013, Rosmah said it was common for a prime minister’s wife to receive expensive jewelry and gifts. She also said she had earned millions of ringgit from her own music album, which was not released to the public, but was bought by government ministers who were fans of her singing talent.

Najib set up the 1MDB fund when he took power in 2009, but it accumulated billions in debt and is being investigated in the US and several other countries.

US investigators say that Najib’s associates stole and laundered US$4.5 billion from the fund from 2009 to 2014, some of which landed in Najib’s bank account.

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