KUALA LUMPUR, (Reuters) – Lawyers representing Malaysia’s ex-premier Najib Razak said yesterday they had quit as Najib’s wife prepared to make a statement to anti-graft agents as part of an investigation into a former unit of state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
Najib’s wife Rosmah Mansor is expected to arrive at the headquarters of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) at 0300 GMT to have her statement recorded in connection with a suspicious transfer of about $10.6 million from the former 1MDB unit SRC International.
The sum is just a fraction of the billions of dollars allegedly siphoned from 1MDB, the state fund that Najib set up, in a scandal that dogged the last three years of his near-decade-long rule and was a key reason why he was voted out in a May 9 election.
Najib has consistently denied any wrongdoing and was cleared of any offence in an earlier Malaysian enquiry.
M. Puravalen, a lawyer acting for Najib and Rosmah in connection with the SRC investigations, told Reuters on Tuesday he had “ceased acting” for Najib and Rosmah.
He said a second lawyer, Yusof Zainal Abideen, had also quit. News site The Malaysian Insight reported that Puravalen, Abideen and other members of their legal team had walked out because they failed to reach common ground with Najib on several issues. Abideen could not be reached immediately reached for comment. Najib and Rosmah could also not be reached for comment.
Najib has already made a series of statements to anti-graft investigators but attention has shifted to his wife after police discovered hundreds of luxury handbags and a stash of jewelry and cash during raids on apartments linked to Najib and his family.
Police have said 114 million ringgit ($28.6 million) in cash and more than 400 handbags were seized. Experts were being brought in to value the jewelry, watches and other seized items.
Najib has been barred from leaving the country since his surprise defeat in last month’s election and enforcement agencies have relaunched a probe into how the 1MDB funds went missing.
1MDB is the subject of money-laundering probes in at least six countries, including the United States, Switzerland and Singapore.