Malaysian police found 114 million ringgit ($28.6 million) in cash in 35 bags seized from a luxury condominium linked to former Prime Minister Najib Razak, the Commercial Crime Investigation Department said Friday
Another 37 bags are said to contain watches and jewelry worth a yet-to-be-calculated amount, the Associated Press reports.
The bags were taken during a raid on Pavilion Residences in central Kuala Lumpur on May 18. Police have been searching Najib’s home and other properties as part of a money-laundering investigation into the graft-plagued state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
Najib was questioned for the second time Thursday for more than six hours by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission as part of the probe.
From three apartments, police removed 284 boxes containing Hermes Birkin handbags, shoes and other luxury goods, as well as 72 bags stuffed with cash and jewelry.
The cash, found in 26 different currencies, was authenticated and counted by 22 bank officers, Amar Singh, head of the Commercial Crime Investigation Department, said in a televised press conference Friday.
He added that experts will assess the value of the jewelry and other seized goods next week.
Najib is accused of siphoning millions from the state fund he created. He denies any wrongdoing, but was unseated in a surprise upset at the May 9 polls in part due to frustrations over the scandal, and the widespread perception that the public was bearing the costs of government debt.
Najib’s former mentor, the 92-year-old political veteran Mahathir Mohamad, campaigned on the promise that he would put an end to the corruption and bring “Malaysia’s biggest thief” to justice.
Now back in power as the world’s oldest elected leader, Mahathir has wasted little time reopening the investigation and putting a travel ban on Najib and his wife Rosmah Mansor.
In an interview shortly before the polls, Mahathir told TIME that he left the party he used to head and stitched together the opposition to stop Najib.
“Initially I tried to advise Najib… [that] he shouldn’t abuse money and things like that. But he didn’t listen,” he said.
The U.S., one of several countries investigating 1MDB, said at least $4.5 billion was diverted from the fund through a web of shell companies in America and elsewhere.
In a statement tweeted by the U.S. Embassy in Malaysia last week, the Justice Department reiterated a commitment to the probe to ensure “the United States and its financial system are not threatened by corrupt individuals and kleptocrats who seek to hide their ill-gotten wealth.”
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