exclusive: malaysia's najib explains why he had so many luxury handbags, lots of cash, jewellery - new jewellery set
Langkawi, Malaysia (Reuters)-
Najib Razak, former Prime Minister of Malaysia, said he should not be morebillion-
Dollar 1MDB scandal, and claims he knows nothing about the money from the national fund that appears in his personal account.
However, he does have an explanation for the large amount of cash, luxury handbags and jewelry that the Malaysian authorities have recently seized from his home.
He sat down for the first time and told Reuters
Najib, interviewed after losing the May 9 election, said his advisers and the management and board of directors of Malaysia Development Corporation (1MDB)
He mistakenly concealed the so-called secret of embezzling funds from him. Newly-
Prime Minister-elect hath Mahathir Mohamad told Reuters on Tuesday that authorities had filed "an almost perfect case" against Najib for corruption, embezzlement and bribery related to 1MDB. The 64-year-
The old politician lost the election after ten years in office, at least in part because of the 1MDB scandal. S. Attorney-
General Jeff Sessions described it as "the worst rule of thieves ".
Najib said in some of his broadest comments on the 1MDB scandal that he did not know if the hundreds of millions of dollars transferred through his personal account came from 1MDB, if funds from the fund are ultimately used to acquire global assets, including yachts, paintings, gems and major real estate.
"I'm not a yacht party, those paintings. . .
"I have never seen these paintings," Najib said . ".
"I don't know these purchases.
This was done without my knowledge.
I will never authorize 1MDB funds for any of these projects.
I 've been working in government for so long and I know what's right and what's wrong, "Najib said in a lavish sea interview --
Facing private villa in five-
A star hotel in Langkawi Island, Malaysia.
He accused the board of 1mdb of saying it was their responsibility to tell him if something went wrong.
Relax in a black T-shirt
Najib said he likes golf, food and time with his family.
To celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the family booked the villa together.
Najib's aides told Reuters that Najib's children, including stepson Riza Aziz, a Hollywood film producer, were by his side this week.
Malaysian investigators investigating 1MDB say they believe Najib and his wife, rosima Mansour, have used the national fund to build up a lot of wealth and property.
Rosama made a brief appearance in the interview, but Najib said she would not answer any questions.
Police raided the Najib family property with nearly 300 cases of designer handbags and dozens of bags full of cash and jewelry.
Items include Birkin handbags from luxury goods maker Hermes, each worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
Najib said that the public had a negative impression of the seizure of handbags and other luxury goods, but most of them were gifts for wives and daughters, which had nothing to do with 1MDB.
"Yes, these are gifts, especially my daughter's, and they are labeled and actually labeled: when and who sent them . "
Najib said his sonin-
The nephew of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Luo Daniel Nazarbayev, also gave many handbags to rooma.
"People may find it hard to understand, but my son --in-
For example, he got Birkin from his sources, five to six at a time, "he said.
"His family has some means, so if 1MDB is from Kazakhstan, it has nothing to do with 1MDB.
He also said that the 0. 114 billion ringgit found at his home in Kuala Lumpur was a political party fund belonging to the Malaysian United Nations organization, which he was the chairman until he resigned shortly after the vote.
UMNO is a member of the coalition of Islamic forces that lost in the election. U. S.
Prosecutors say the figure is more than $4.
1MDB 5 billion of the money is money laundering through complex trading networks and shell companies. The U. S.
Ministry of Justice (DoJ)
Several proceedings have been filed for compensation of $1.
7 billion is considered an asset stolen from 1MDB.
Some of these assets include Picasso's paintings, luxury properties in Southern California and New York, a stake in Hollywood studios, and a $0. 265 billion yacht. Jewelry worth over $0. 2 billionincluding a 22-
Pink diamond pendant and necklace.
Najib said the jewelry was also a gift for her wife, but she never received it.
"We don't know until today. . .
"She said the item was not in her hands," Najib said . ".
In the interview, Najib also talked in detail for the first time about the Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, who is called Jho Low. U. S.
Malaysian investigators listed Jho Low as a key figure to benefit from the 1MDB fund.
Najib said he believes that Low's ties in the Middle East, especially with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, could help attract more investment in Malaysia from these places.
But he said he had never instructed Low to participate in 1MDB and had no control over what he was doing.
"I didn't give him instructions, but he volunteered to do something he thought would be helpful to 1MDB.
But whatever he does in the end is the responsibility of the management and the board.
"Malaysia is seeking to arrest Low, who is believed to be living abroad, for his involvement in the 1MDB scandal.
He described Low and Najib's stepson Riza as friends, but said he did not know that Riza's Hollywood production company had any deals involving 1MDB funds, which produced
Asked if he was still in touch with Low, Najib said: "We cut the contact again.
I don't know where he is.
Low's lawyer did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Najib has long denied any wrongdoing by 1MDB.
He said that the $0. 681 billion transferred to his personal bank account was a donation from Saudi Arabia, not from the United States. S.
The lawsuit accused 1MDB of embezzling funds.
Najib said Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud had assured him that Saudi Arabia would donate.
"As far as I know, I have on the surface been instructed by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia," Najib said . ".
Najib said he was not aware of any transactions involving his personal account as he appointed Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, director of SRC International, the former 1MDB division, to manage.
The corruption bureau has issued an arrest warrant against Nick Faisal, but his whereabouts are unknown.
The former prime minister said he was determined to stay in Malaysia and fight the charges even if faced with the possibility of going to jail.
"No, I never intended to leave.
"Because if I leave, there is a presumption of guilt," he said . ".
"I can't be a fugitive for the rest of my life.
I want to make my name clear.