Police seized 72 designer handbags stuffed with foreign cash from Malaysia's former prime minister as part of investigation into a global financial scandal

Mohd Rasfan/AFP/Getty ImagesMembers of the Royal Malaysia Police stand outside the entrance of former prime minister Najib Razak’s residence in Kuala Lumpur.
  • Police seized 284 boxes from properties linked to Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Najib Razak.
  • The boxes including designer handbags filled with Malaysian and US currency, watches, and jewellery.
  • The raids were part of an investigation into the scandal-plagued state investment fund 1MDB, which Najib set up in 2009 and allegedly siphoned off billions of dollars.
  • Najib lost power last week in an historic election that led to the opposition alliance leading Malaysia for the first time in history.

Police have seized 284 boxes of luxury handbags, some stuffed with foreign cash and jewellery, from properties linked to Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Najib Razak.

The prime minister’s popularity started plummeting in 2015 when nearly $US700 million from a state investment fund was reportedly found in Najib’s personal accounts. Last week, he lost his office in an unprecedented election that saw Malaysia’s first ever transition of power to the opposition alliance, with new Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad saying he expects to soon charge Najib over a global financial scandal.

Early Thursday morning, police raided six properties linked to Najib, including his home, former office, and condominium properties. Five police trucks were reported leaving one of those residences.

“Our seizures included 284 boxes containing designer handbags. Our personnel checked these bags and discovered various currencies including Malaysian Ringgit, US Dollars, watches and jewellery in 72 bags,” Amar Singh, the director of the Commercial Crime Investigation Department, told reports according to Star Online.

Singh said there were too many items to be able to immediately evaluate their value, but the amount of jewellery was “rather big” and the handbags included the brands Hermes, Louis Vuitton, and Birkin.

Most of these goods were taken from a condominium residence where, on Saturday, senior officers reviewed CCTV footage after complaint that 50 boxes of Birkin bags, which could cost up to $US200,000 each, were delivered to Najib’s wife in vans marked with the prime minister’s seal.

Singh confirmed the search of the six properties was “related to the 1MDB investigations,” referencing a fund established by Najib in 2009 to make strategic investments. But six countries, including the US and Switzerland, are investigating the fund for siphoning off $US4.5 billion.

Documents relating to 1MDB were also seized from Najib’s office, while the search of his home on Thursday lasted almost 18 hours.

On Saturday, Najib and his wife were blacklisted from leaving the country.

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