Wed, Jul 17, 2019 - Page 5 News List

Najib’s credit card bills show exorbitant spending

The Guardian

Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, center, leaves the Kuala Lumpur High Court yesterday.

Photo: EPA-EFE

The credit cards of former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak were used to buy more than US$800,000 of goods at a jeweler in Italy in a single day, a court in Kuala Lumpur has heard during a corruption trial.

The spending spree took place at De Grisogono, a Swiss luxury jeweler, in Italy on Aug. 8, 2014, when items worth 3.3 million ringgit (US$802,923) were purchased on Najib’s Visa and Mastercard platinum credit cards, the court was told.

A few months later, 466,000 ringgit was spent at a Chanel boutique in Hawaii and 127,000 ringgit at Bangkok’s luxury Shangri-La Hotel using the same credit cards.

All the payment were made from Najib’s Ambank account, prosecutors said.

The credit card bills were presented as evidence in the trial of the former Malaysian prime minister, who was toppled from power in May last year and is facing dozens of charges for corruption, misappropriation of funds and abuse of power linked to government fund 1MDB.

The trial, relating to the misuse of a subsidiary fund called SRC, is the first of several that Najib is due to face in the coming months for his alleged role in the scandal.

Under Najib’s watch, it is alleged that up to US$4 billion was embezzled from 1MDB and spent around the world, funding films, yachts, real estate and celebrity parties.

It is alleged that US$681 million went into Najib’s personal bank account and was used to fund the lavish spending habits of Najib and his wife, Rosmah Mansour.

Najib and Rosmah, who is also facing multiple charges, both deny all wrongdoing.

The opulent lifestyle of Najib and Rosmah was a source of much resentment in Malaysia during Najib’s time as prime minister and after their arrest there was a collective revulsion when raids on the couple’s family properties uncovered a cache of luxury goods worth US$273 million, including 1,400 necklaces, 567 handbags, 423 watches, 2,200 rings, 1,600 brooches and 14 tiaras, the biggest seizure in Malaysian history.

Najib defended the credit card spending as purchases for official purposes.

“This spending is for gifts to a senior member of the royalty of a government and their entourage that has good relations with our country,” Najib wrote on Facebook late on Monday.

He did not clarify which royal had received the jewelery.

“It is a norm to give gifts to leaders of other governments,” Najib added.

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