Najib: Handbags, Jewellery And Luxury Goods Had Nothing To Do With 1MDB

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak caused quite the stir when he was spotted at Langkawi on Monday (Jun 18).

He was reportedly there for a golf trip, but like so much about the beleaguered politician, there was more than met the eye.

On Wednesday night, Reuters released an exclusive interview it had conducted with Mr Najib in Langkawi.

The interview marked the first time Mr Najib had sat down with reporters since his surprise election loss in May.

It comes on the heels of current Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s comments that authorities have “an almost perfect case” against Mr Najib.

We break down the details of the interview after the jump.

1. Hermes and Birkin bags were gifts

In May, MustShareNews reported that at least 280 luxury handbags had been seized from a KL apartment linked to Mr Najib.

When asked about the bags and other luxury goods, Mr Najib claimed that they were mostly gifts and included wedding presents. He said,

Yes these were gifts, particularly with my daughter’s they were tagged, they were actually labelled: when, by whom.

Some of these gifts were also presented by Mr Najib’s son-in-law, Mr Daniyar Nazarbayev.

Mr Nazarbayev is the nephew of Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev and is married to Mr Najib’s daughter.

Explaining the gifts further, Mr Najib said,

“People might find it hard to understand, but my son-in-law for example, he 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.”

2. RM114 million were party funds

And what about the 114 million ringgit (S$39 million) found at Mr Najib’s family home?

The former Prime Minister had a logical explanation for that as well, saying that they were party funds belonging to the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO).

Mr Najib was president of UMNO but stepped down shortly after Malaysia’s 14th General Election.

3. Picasso? What Picasso?

The current administration accuses Mr Najib of laundering 1MDB funds to purchase yachts, Picasso paintings, gems and real estate.

Mr Najib refuted those claims, saying,

“I’ve never seen those paintings whatsoever. I was not aware of these purchases – they were done without my knowledge. I would never authorise 1MDB funds to be used for any of these items. I’ve been in government so long, I know what’s right and what’s wrong.”

So who’s to blame?

Mr Najib pointed fingers at the board of 1MDB instead, saying that they should have highlighted any fraudulent purchases.

He also denied that he had told Mr Jho Low to get involved in 1MDB.

I didn’t give him instructions, but he volunteered to do certain things, which he thought would help 1MDB. But whatever he did ultimately is the responsibility of the management and board.

Mr Najib added that he did not know where Mr Low was. Malaysian authorities are hunting for Mr Low for his suspected involvement in the 1MDB scandal.

Here for good

Mr Najib also shot back at critics who said that he was planning to flee the country. He said,

“No, I never had plans to leave. Because if I leave, there’s presumption of guilt. I cannot be a fugitive for the rest of my life. I want to clear my name.”

Featured image from Najib Razak’s Instagram.