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Monday January 16, 2006

'Billionaire' Najem arrested


Billionaire Elie Youssef Najem
KUALA LUMPUR: Self-proclaimed billionaire Elie Youssef Najem has been arrested over several alleged cheating cases. 

The 45-year-old Lebanese was arrested by Bukit Aman police officers at his condominium unit in Villa Putra here at about 6.15pm. 

He is being detained at the Dang Wangi police station and expected to be produced at the magistrate's court here today for a remand order. 

Federal police commercial crimes director Commissioner Datuk Hairuddin Mohamed said Najem was arrested to assist in investigations following numerous cheating reports lodged against him. 

The Star had earlier yesterday received a telephone call from Najem saying that his father-in-law would be holding a press conference in the evening to clear up all the questions on the legitimacy of his claims to be a billionaire, and also to stop the media spotlight that was trained on him. 

However, when reporters turned up at his condominium about 7.30pm, his father-in-law  

refused to talk to them, saying that he would only talk when Najem was with him. He, however, did not give any indication that Najem had been arrested. 

AGGRIEVED BUNCH: MCA Public Services and Complaints Department head Datuk Michael Chong (seated, second from right) and various complainants holding up documents over Najem’s alleged unpaid bills.
Najem hogged the limelight  

earlier this month when he pledged RM1bil to build a new cancer hospital and research centre for the National Cancer Council (Makna). 

His huge donation offer and the following media glare on his life resulted in numerous people coming forward, alleging that Najem owed them money for various unpaid bills and expenses. 

It was later also reported that his marriage to 19-year-old Farinnie Mohd Farid was also a sham, with the imam who purportedly solemnised the marriage last year having died 10 years ago.  

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