Malaysia: Ex-PM’s wife Rosmah Mansor ‘summoned for questioning’

Former first lady asked to report to anti-corruption agency by Tuesday and answer investigators’ questions, reports say.

Rosmah and her husband, former prime minister Najib, have been barred from leaving the country [File: EPA]

The wife of former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has been summoned by the country’s anti-corruption agency in its probe into a former subsidiary of the scandal-hit sovereign wealth fund 1MDB, according to reports.

Rosmah Mansor was ordered on Friday to report to the headquarters of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) by Tuesday to have her statement recorded in connection with investigations into SRC International, state media Bernama reported.

“The notice was served by MACC officers at the home of the former prime minister today,” a source at the commission told Reuters news agency on Friday.

The source asked not to be identified as details of the notice have yet to be made public.

Najib, who suffered a stunning election loss in May by his mentor-turned-rival, Mahathir Mohamad, has become the subject of a money-laundering probe. He and Rosmah have been barred from leaving the country.

Najib made a statement to the agency last month about a suspicious transfer of $10.6m to his bank account.

The sum, however, is just a fraction of billions of dollars allegedly siphoned from 1MDB, a scandal that dogged the last three years of Najib’s near-decade-long rule and a key reason why he was voted out in the May 9 election.

Najib has denied wrongdoing.

Bags, cash and jewels

Attention has focused on Rosmah after police discovered hundreds of luxury handbags and a stash of jewellery and cash during a series of raids on apartments and houses linked to Najib and his family.

Malaysian police have said cash of $28.6m and more than 400 handbags were seized. Experts were being brought in to value the jewellery, watches and other seized items.

In the past, Rosmah has been criticised for her lifestyle. On one occasion in 2015, she complained about having to pay $300 to her hairdresser.

In a biography published in 2013, she defended her choice of clothing. 

“As a woman and as the wife of a leader, I have to look made up, neat and take care of my appearance. It is also embarrassing for Malaysians when other countries make fun of the sloppy wife of Malaysia’s prime minister,” she said. 

The 1MDB fund is the subject of money-laundering probes in at least six countries including the United States, Switzerland and Singapore.

The US Department of Justice is seeking to recover more than $1.7bn in assets traceable to funds allegedly misappropriated from 1MDB.

US prosecutors listed some 20 assets including lavish real estate properties in Beverly Hills in Los Angeles to a penthouse in New York.

The US also alleged that Malaysian funds were used to buy more than $200m of artworks by Van Gogh and Monet.

Lawsuits filed in the US alleged more than $4.5bn was diverted from 1MDB and laundered through a web of shell companies and bank accounts.

Mahathir, the prime minister, said that widespread corruption in the country is partly to be blamed for Malaysia’s debt, which is reported to be over $250bn, or about 80 percent of the GDP.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies