Po­lice fol­low Na­jib’s money trail

Ousted Malaysian prime min­is­ter at cen­ter of crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - FRONT PAGE - —STORY BY REUTERS

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.

‘Noth­ing se­ri­ous’

“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.

Barred

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.

Purge

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.—

REUTERS

FALLEN FROMGRACE De­feated Malaysian Prime Min­is­ter Na­jib Razak (sec­ond from right) speaks at a news con­fer­ence dur­ing elec­tions in Kuala Lumpur.—

AFP

RAID IN THE DARK Malaysian po­lice cars en­ter the road lead­ing to for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Na­jib Razak’s res­i­dence in Kuala Lumpur.—

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