Government ordered to confirm seizure of bling from Lebanese jeweller

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court today ordered the government to reply on whether it seized jewellery worth RM60 million by a Lebanese jeweller as part of investigations into state investment fund 1MDB in May.

The jewellery was said to have been loaned to the former prime minister’s wife, Rosmah Mansor.

Judicial commissioner Wong Chee Lin made the order after the government, represented by senior federal counsel Izham Marzuki, told the court it could not confirm whether the 44 items of jewellery by Global Royalty Trading SAL were part of the 12,000-piece haul by the police from raids on premises linked to Najib.

The 12,000 pieces of jewellery were said to be worth RM440 million.

“I’m urging the government to come back in two weeks’ time with an affidavit in reply on the 44 pieces of jewellery, and to seek the defendant’s (Rosmah’s) help in identifying the items,” Wong said, to which Izham agreed.

Wong also set March 4 and 5 next year for trial after throwing out Rosmah’s bid to strike out the suit, although she can re-file to strike the suit out again after the government files its affidavit in two weeks time.

“She (Rosmah) is the best person to prove in trial if she saw the items taken away, and whether she received a notice under the anti-money laundering law for the seizure of the jewellery,” she said.

Earlier, Rosmah’s lawyers Rajivan Nambiar and Reza Rahim had disputed the status of the 44 pieces of jewellery.

“(Rosmah) took the position that the items were seized, but the government cannot confirm it. Now this is up in the air,” Rajivan said.

David Gurupatham, representing Global Royalty, told Wong the jeweller had written to Commercial Crime Investigation Department chief Amar Singh and received a general reply.

“(Amar) told us through his affidavit that goods were seized, but he could not confirm if our 44 pieces were included in the 12,000 items they took.”

The Lebanese jeweller sued Rosmah in June for the return of the jewellery which included rings, necklaces, earrings and pendants.

The items were sent to Rosmah in a consignment agreement that she would return the jewellery that she did not choose.

“Those items that she wished to buy would be paid for through a third agent or herself,” the company said.

It added that Rosmah would receive the jewellery herself or through her agents in Dubai, Singapore or Kuala Lumpur.

It also claimed she had acknowledged receipt of the 44 pieces of jewellery on May 22.

However, the items sent to Rosmah are reportedly no longer in her possession as they were seized by the authorities in May.

“The company maintains that we are the owners of all the items, and the ownership was not transferred to her,” Global Royalty said.

The government was made a party in the Lebanese company’s suit in August.

It sought to be included on grounds that the jewellery belonged to the government and was bought with stolen money.

The most expensive piece of jewellery listed in the lawsuit is a 16.5-carat cushion-cut diamond ring which costs US$925,000.

The company also loaned Rosmah a diamond tiara worth US$575,000.