Police follow Najib’s money trail
Ousted Malaysian prime minister at center of criminal investigation
KUALA LUMPUR— Within hours after losing his grip on power, former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak found himself to be an ordinary citizen with extraordinary circumstances—being at the center of a criminal investigation. Najib’s house has been raided by police apparently heeding a well-known tip when probing financial crimes—follow the money.
KUALA LUMPUR— Malaysian police seized handbags and a few other personal items from the home of former Prime Minister Najib Razak in connection with a money laundering probe, a lawyer of the ex-leader said on Thursday.
At least a dozen armed policemen entered Najib’s home late on Wednesday after he returned from prayers at a mosque, witnesses said.
The search lasted for over six hours, during which officers were seen taking large bags into the house and later loading them into a truck.
“The search is supposed to be under money laundering act. They found nothing incriminating,” Najib’s lawyer Harpal Singh Grewal told reporters who were camped outside the house.
He said police took some personal possessions including a couple of handbags.
“Nothing serious. About two, three boxes” of them, Harpal said.
When asked whether Najib would be arrested, he said: “There is no indication that they (the police) will do it.”
Several dozen policemen were also seen at a luxury condominium in another district of Kuala Lumpur, where Najib has an apartment.
A police spokesperson could not be contacted for comment.
Najib’s long-ruling political coalition was defeated in a general election last week.
Just days later, new Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad barred Najib and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, from leaving the country.
Mahathir, 92, has said there was sufficient evidence to in- vestigate a multibillion-dollar scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad, which was founded by Najib.
Once Mahathir’s protege, Najib denied any wrongdoing.
The scandal was being investigated by police in at least six countries, including the United States.
Mahathir has replaced the country’s attorney general and officials at the antigraft agency, in what appears to be a purge of people seen as close to the former premier.
Earlier on Wednesday, jailed reformist Anwar Ibrahim was granted a full pardon and freed, underlining the dramatic changes in the Southeast Asian country in the last seven days.
Anwar teamed up with Mahathir, his ally-turned-foeturned-ally, to oust Najib.
The relationship between the two remains volatile, however, and will likely determine what course Malaysia will chart in the coming months.—
FALLEN FROMGRACE Defeated Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak (second from right) speaks at a news conference during elections in Kuala Lumpur.—
RAID IN THE DARK Malaysian police cars enter the road leading to former Prime Minister Najib Razak’s residence in Kuala Lumpur.—