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Former Malaysian prime minister will face graft probe while police confiscate jewelry and bags



KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Deposed Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was summoned by the anti-subsidy agency in the midst of an investigation into the troubled state 1MDB fund, sources said on Friday after police launched pre-dawn raids on a local linked to Najib. and confiscated jewelry, luxury bags and cash.

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak prays before attending the 72nd anniversary celebration of the United Malaysian National Organization (UMNO) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on May 11, 2018. REUTERS / Stringer

Police have been searching for the home of Najib and other places part of an investigation into the plagued 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), an extraordinary turn of events that few would have predicted before its surprise defeat in the May 9 general election .

The disputed prime minister will meet with officials of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on Tuesday.

Three commission sources confirmed that Najib had been notified of his statement in relation to his investigation of SRC International, a former 1MDB unit.

"It's already done," said a source when asked if the notice had been delivered to Najib in his family's home.

A member of a panel that reviewed the MACC files on 1MDB found that the commission had evidence that Najib received $ 10.5 million from SRC International.

Najib's lawyer refused to comment on the MACC call. Najib has denied wrongdoing.

The investigations began just a week after Najib's ruling coalition suffered a spectacular loss to an opposition bloc led by its former mentor, Mahathir Mohamad, 92, the first change of government since Malaysia gained independence from Britain in 1957.

Malaysian Police load a trolleybus on a truck during a raid of three apartments in a condominium owned by the family of former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, in Kuala Lumpur, on May 17, 2018, in this photo taken by The Straits Times. Ariffin Jamar / The Straits Times via REUTERS

Mahathir announced Friday his cabinet of 15 high-ranking ministers who will be sworn in on Monday.

Police seized 284 boxes of designer handbags and dozens of bags full of money and jewelry in the raid on a luxury condo in downtown Kuala Lumpur linked to Najib.

Items such as Hermes Birkin handbags, watches and other valuables were transported outside the condo at the luxurious Pavilion Residences, police said.

"Exactly how many jewels, I could not say, because we know that we confiscated bags containing jewelry and the number of jewels is quite large," Amar Singh, director of police investigations into commercial crimes, told reporters.

Mahathir has prevented Najib and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, from leaving the country.

Mahathir says there is enough evidence to investigate the multi-billion dollar scandal in the 1MDB fund that Najib founded. Authorities in six countries, including the United States, are also investigating the fund.

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Najib's lawyer on Thursday denounced Najib's house as "harassment".

Najib critics have often accused his wife of excessive spending, which they say was made with public funds.

SIMULTANEOUS SEARCHES

The US Department of Justice said last year in a civil lawsuit that nearly $ 30 million of stolen 1MDB funds were used to buy jewelry for Rosmah, including a rare 22-carat pink diamond set in a necklace.

Singh said that the police conducted simultaneous searches in six locations: the prime minister's office and the official residence in the administrative capital of Putrajaya, the family mansion in Kuala Lumpur where Najib lives, and three other private residences.

"This is the result of the search in one of the six facilities," Singh said, pointing to the hundreds of luxury items confiscated in the condominium.

Singh said that the police had also confiscated documents linked to 1MDB.

The stories of the generous spending of the Najib family have been a painful point for the Malaysians.

A prime minister earns a fixed salary of 22,826.65 ringgit ($ 5,750) per month and can not invest in business or stock while in office. Najib earned an additional monthly salary of 16,000 ringgit as a member of parliament.

Police began their searches on Wednesday night, with officers seen entering the private home of Najib about 20 minutes after asking, in a Twitter post, "Forgiveness for the sins of the past."

Additional reports Ebrahim Harris and Joseph Sipalan; Nick Macfie edition

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