Over US$180m of 1MDB funds used to buy jewellery, Hermès bags, affidavit shows

Over US$180m of 1MDB funds used to buy jewellery, Hermès bags, affidavit shows
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KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 26): Almost US$70 million of funds originating from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) were allegedly spent on jewellery, according to an affidavit by an investigating officer.

Superintendent Foo Wei Min, in his affidavit in support of the government's application to forfeit the jewellery, stated that between Oct 14, 2010 and Sept 30, 2013 there were 49 money transfers amounting to US$68.166 million from Singapore-based Alsen Chance Holdings Ltd to 21 producers and retailers of jewellery.

The companies include Jacob and Co, Baron Fleming, Firestone Co Ltd, Butani Jewellery, Bejewelled India Pvt Ltd India, The Emperial Gems & Jewelry, Michael Greene & Co, Prima Gold Jewelry, Al Mahaba Jewelry, Rose Trading Company Ltd, Adler Jewellery, Rare Red Diamond, Verdi and Co, Al Khalid Jewellery, Unique Gems Ltd, Lorraine E Schwartz and Lina Diam International.

According to his affidavit, the investigation showed that the funds were misappropriated from 1MDB as Alsen Chance did not have any balance in the account before the inflow of cash from 1MDB.

In the investigation, Foo also found that between Sept 10, 2013 to Sept 4, 2014, there were 69 transfer funds amounting US$112 million were made from DBS Blackrock Commodities' account to 16 manufacturers and retailers of Lorraine E. Schwartz Inc, Rose Trading Company Ltd, Nitin Goenka, RCM, Lina Diam International, Fire Stone Co Ltd, Riana Meilia, Azure Dragon Holdings Ltd, Beauty Gems Factory Co Ltd, Al Mahaba Jewelry LLC, Jasmin Jewelry LLC, Bejewelled India Pvt Ltd India Pvt Ltd, Prima Gold Jewelers LLC, The Emerald Gems & Jewelry, Olympic Diamond and Duke of Milan Ltd.

The investigation also found that the money was said to have originated from 1MDB as prior to those dates Blackrock does not have that sum of money.

Both Alsen Chance and Blackrock are controlled by Eric Tan Kim Loong, a close business associate of fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low. Tan is still missing until today.

Prosecutors are seeking to forfeit luxury items confiscated from former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and several others, which were allegedly bought using 1MDB funds.

The prosecution claimed that 11 of the 29 Hermès handbags were paid by Blackrock to the tune of US$665,000 dated Oct 7, 2013 to a company called Samilor Enterprise Inc in New York, USA. This payment is for the purchase of 13 units of Hermès handbags which are listed in its invoice no. 838

The remaining Hermès Birkin handbags have been identified to be paid also by Blackrock where a payment of US$980,000 dated Nov 21, 2013 was made to Samilor. The owner of Samilor has affirmed that the 18 handbags seized in this case match the description in Samilor’s invoice from the payment of US$980,000 for 20 Hermès Birkin handbags as Foo affirmed in the affidavit.

The prosecution hence said that on a balance of probabilities from the Good Star phase, Jho Low, along with Prince Saud, Blackstone Asia Real Estate Partners, — where Najib do not have any connection or business dealings with 1MDB — have to justify the receipts of monies from 1MDB.

Read also:
Court dismisses govt's forfeiture suit involving RM114m cash linked to 1MDB 
Decision on govt's bid to forfeit goods from Pavilion raid to be delivered on Nov 14 
Najib’s lawyer says three of seven Richard Mille watches seized in Pavilion raid are gifts

Kang Siew Li