KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court today ordered a Lebanese jeweller to place RM75,000 as security for costs in response to an application by the former prime minister’s wife, Rosmah Mansor.
Global Royalty Trading SAL’s lawyer David Gurupatham said High Court judge Wong Chee Lin fixed the amount in chambers after hearing submissions.
Rosmah applied on Aug 19 for the company to deposit RM500,000 as it was a foreign-based plaintiff.
The jewellery company sued Rosmah on June 26 last year for the return of 44 pieces of jewellery it claimed to have sent her for selection, or the payment of US$14.79 million (about RM60 million) as the price of the items.
Gurupatham said the amount sought by Rosmah was absurd and intended to stifle the proceedings.
“I also raised the issue that the defendant (Rosmah) was delaying trial as she was directed to inspect the jewellery 13 months ago,” he told reporters.
He said Wong also ordered the company to place the deposit in court by Oct 11.
Meanwhile, Rosmah’s lawyer Rajivan Nambiar said Wong had allowed his client’s application for the court to appoint an expert to identify and verify four of the 44 pieces of jewellery under government custody following its forfeiture exercise.
“However, it is subject to the consent of Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM),” he added. “The central bank is worried about the security threat because the jewellery is kept in a vault.
“If BNM comes back and tells us that is fine, we can go and inspect the jewellery,” he said.
In its suit, Global Royalty claimed that on Feb 10, 2018, it sent the 44 pieces of jewellery, including diamond necklaces, earrings, rings, bracelets and tiaras, each worth between US$124,000 (RM519,183) and US$925,000 (RM3.8 million) to Rosmah through a courier and two of its agents.
The company said Rosmah had confirmed and accepted its terms and conditions.
It also claimed that Rosmah, in a letter dated May 22, 2018, confirmed and acknowledged receiving the jewellery but said the items were no longer in her possession as they had been confiscated by the Malaysian authorities.
Global Royalty is seeking a court declaration that it owns the jewellery and that ownership of the items was not transferred to Rosmah.
It is also seeking a mandatory order for Rosmah to provide a list of the jewellery seized for them to be returned or for Rosmah to pay US$14.79 million as the price of the jewellery.