Rosmah Mansor, wife of former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, had large sums of money deposited into her bank account despite being unemployed, a Kuala Lumpur court was told on Thursday (Aug 24) during her money laundering trial.
The money she received was “wholly disproportionate” to her earning means, as she had no independent source of lawful income, Deputy Public Prosecutor Akram Gharib said during his opening statement at the Kuala Lumpur High Court.
He added that the prosecution’s evidence points to Rosmah’s account receiving deposits worth millions, which were proceeds of unlawful activity, contravening Malaysia’s Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act.
Mr Akram said the money she received was used to pay telephone and credit card bills she and her family members had racked up.
Rosmah is facing 12 money laundering charges involving around RM7.1 million (S$2.07 million) and five charges of tax evasion for failing to declare said income to Malaysia’s Inland Revenue Board (LHDN) between Dec 4, 2013, and June 8, 2017.
She used employees at the Seri Perdana Complex, the official residence of Malaysia’s prime minister, to make deposits on her behalf, said Mr Akram.
One Seri Perdana employee, Mr Faizal Shamsuddin, testified in court on Thursday that he was once given an envelope to make a cash deposit for Rosmah, and discovered it contained around RM200,000 when he submitted it to a bank officer in Affin Bank.
“I don’t know the source of the money and the purpose of the cash which I deposited into Rosmah’s account,” he said.
Affin Bank assistant manager Nor Ashikin Abdullah said funds totalling nearly RM1.1 million were remitted in multiple stages to Rosmah’s account between 2014 and 2017, with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission already notified of this information.
The trial will resume on Sept 7. Before that, she is expected to visit Singapore, where her daughter is expected to go into labour on Aug 28.
This is the second corruption trial for Rosmah, wife of Malaysia’s sixth premier Najib, who is also the country’s first PM to be imprisoned after leaving office.
In September 2022, she was convicted of three bribery charges tied to a RM1.25 billion solar energy project for schools in Sarawak and sentenced to 10 years in prison for each charge to be served concurrently, as well as fined RM970 million.
Her sentence has been adjourned pending her appeal against the verdict.
Details of her high-end lifestyle have been documented in local media for years.
Shortly after Najib’s Umno political party lost the 2018 general election, a police raid of properties linked to his family yielded an eye-watering hoard of luxury items worth RM1.1 billion, including 12,000 pieces of jewellery, hundreds of luxury watches and handbags, and notably a made-to-order Hermes Birkin bag valued at RM1.6 million.