Najib among third party claimants seeking return of seized 1MDB assets

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court on Tuesday (Sept 3) saw Datuk Seri Najib Razak and three other entities coming forward as third-party claimants to assets – in the form of various items and cash money – seized from OBYU Holdings Sdn Bhd.

The assets were seized from a property belonging to OBYU Holdings, as part of a civil forfeiture suit meant to recover funds allegedly misappropriated from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

Lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, representing Najib, said the former prime minister sought to come in as a third party to claim several items, such as watches and pens, and monies in several different currencies.

The other three parties were Najib's wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, along with their children, Nooryana Najwa Najib and Norashman Najib; Umno; and Lebanese jeweller Global Royalty Trading SAL.

Azrul Zulkifli Stork, counsel to Rosmah, Nooryana, and Norashman, said his clients were seeking to claim several items of jewelleries, as well as accessories.

Lawyer Nur Fazreen Hazrina Rahim, representing Umno, said her client sought to claim RM114,164,393.44 in cash.

Meanwhile, lawyer Datuk David Gurupatham, representing Global Royalty Trading SAL, said his client was seeking the return of jewelleries seized from the property.

David also suggested that an expert be called in to inspect the jewelleries to clarify and identify the pieces stated in the gazetted list.

The jeweller was also in the midst of a civil suit against Rosmah demanding the return of 44 pieces of jewellery sent to her for viewing purposes or to pay the full prices of the items, which amounted to US$14.79mil (RM62.48 mil).

Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission's (MACC) deputy public prosecutor Aaron Chelliah said the third party notice gazette was posted on Aug 23.

"We have issued the third party gazette on Aug 23 and several parties have come forward," said Chelliah.

High Court judge Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah then ordered all interested third parties to file formal applications, before the hearing on Oct 31.

The third party gazette was issued under Section 61(2) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (Amlatfa) 2001 to summon any third party who claim to have interest in seized assets to appear before the court to show cause as to why the assets should not be forfeited by the Government.

The government, through MACC, has filed a civil forfeiture suit against OBYU Holdings, seeking to forfeit assets seized from the company.

The assets include 11,990 pieces of jewellery, 401 watches and 16 units of watch accessories, 234 sunglasses, 306 handbags, RM114,164,393.44 in cash and a property in Kuala Lumpur.

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