Wife of former Malaysian PM Najib Razak sued over jewellery worth $14.8m

Kate Lamb in Jakarta
Days after Rosmah Mansor received a consignment of jewellery, apartment’s linked to her husband Najib Razak were raided. Photograph: Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters

A luxury Lebanese jewellery company is suing former Malaysian first lady Rosmah Mansor, demanding she return 44 pieces of jewellery worth US$14.8 million.

Rosmah allegedly received the consignment of jewellery, which includes a tiara and diamond necklaces, on May 22, according to lawyers representing Global Royalty Trading SAL.

The suit was filed at the Malaysian High Court on June 26 through law firm Messrs David Gurupatham and Koay, and names Rosmah, wife of former prime minister Najib Razak, as the sole defendant.

The media only became aware of the suit after case management proceedings on July 10.

The statement of claim indicates that Rosmah acknowledged receiving the consignment, but the jewellery was no longer in her possession.

Days after the valuables were allegedly received authorities raided several apartments linked to her husband Najib Razak, as part of an investigation into the 1MDB scandal that has engulfed the former first family.

The haul of cash, designer handbags and more than 10,000 pieces of jewellery seized in those raids totalled $273 million.

Responding to the suit, Rosmah’s lawyers told the Malay Mail they denied their client had purchased the jewellery in question.

“We would like to stress that all of the jewelleries itemised in Global Royalty’s statement of claim were sent to our client for her viewing, and none was purchased by Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor,” said lawyers Datuk K Kumaraendran and Datuk Geethan Ram Vincent, referring to their client using honorifics.

“The allegations being spread that the jewelleries listed by Global Royalty were purchased, and that too bought using stolen funds, is therefore completely baseless and untrue,” they added.

The Lebanese jewellery firm, a supplier to royals and the global elite, described Rosmah as a long-standing customer and said it had sent consignments to her in the past.

After dramatically losing the election this May, Najib Razak was charged in court last week with misappropriating millions from a unit connected to the scandal-ridden state-investment fund, 1MDB.