Former Prime Minister Najib Razak says he shouldn’t be blamed for the 1MDB scandal, and states that he knows nothing about the money from 1MDB appearing in his personal account. However, he does have explanations for the vast sum of cash and luxury goods seized from him by the Malaysian authorities, including 300 boxes of designer handbags.
In his first interview since his party coalition lost the General Elections, Najib said that most were gifts given to his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and daughter, Nooryana Najwa. The items had nothing to do with 1MDB. “Yes, these were gifts, particularly with my daughter’s they were tagged, they were actually labeled: when, by whom,” adding that a lot of them were wedding gifts.
Najib said that his son-in-law Daniyar Nazarbayev also gifted many of the handbags to Rosmah. As the nephew of Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbayez, Najib added that Daniyar gets Birkin from his source, five or six at one go. “His family has got some means, so it has nothing to do with 1MDB if it comes from Kazakhstan.”
The RM114 million found at his family home in Kuala Lumpur were supposedly party funds belonging to UMNO.
Prosecutors in the US have alleged that more than US$4.5 billion (RM18.05 billion) of funds belonging to 1MDB were laundered through a complex web of transactions and shell companies. The US Department of Justice has filed several lawsuits to claim about US$1.7 billion (RM6.82 billion) in assets believed to be from 1MDB.
The assets include a Picasso painting, luxury real estate in South California and New York, shares in a Hollywood production company, a luxury yacht, and more than US$200 million (RM 802 million) worth of jewelry—including a 22-carat pink diamond pendant and necklace. Najib said this jewelry set was meant as a gift to his wife, but she never received it. “And until today we do not know… she says the item is not in her possession.”
Speaking on the RM2.6 billion in his personal account, he maintained that it was a personal donation from Saudi Arabia, and not from 1MDB as alleged. “All I knew, I accepted at face value that this is coming from the Saudis, from King Abdullah at his behest at his instruction,” Najib said.
He also added that he had no knowledge of any transaction involving his personal account, as he had appointed Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, a former 1MDB unit to manage it.
Despite the many allegations against him, Najib has never planned to leave the country and will fight against them. “I cannot be a fugitive for the rest of my life. I want to clear my name.”