Malaysian police searched the home of scandal-tainted former premier Najib Razak today as the new government probes a massive graft scandal after sweeping to power in historic elections.
At least a dozen police vehicles converged on Najib’s family compound in the capital Kuala Lumpur in the early hours, with a number of officers entering the home, an AFP journalist saw.
Najib’s lawyer said officers had searched the ex-leader’s home and an apartment for over six hours as part of an investigation into money-laundering, but no arrests were made.
The new government, headed by 92-year-old Mahathir Mohamad who secured a stunning election victory last week, has vowed to probe allegations Najib oversaw the looting of a sovereign wealth fund.
“The police just took some handbags and some clothes,” lawyer Harpal Singh Grewal told AFP, adding that Najib had cooperated with the officers.
“We have no indication yet if police will make any arrest.” Najib’s wife Rosmah Mansor, deeply unpopular due to her reported love of costly overseas shopping trips, was known to have a vast collection of designer clothes and handbags.
The search came just hours after politician Anwar Ibrahim — a key figure in the alliance that swept to power, who had been thrown in jail under Najib’s rule — was released, triggering euphoric scenes.
It is an ominous sign for Najib, whose all-powerful ruling coalition was ousted after governing Malaysia for six decades. The unexpected result has been blamed in large part on public anger over the scandal involving the fund, called 1MDB.
Najib established 1MDB and is accused of deep involvement in the looting — charges he has repeatedly denied. Nearly $700 million had appeared in his personal bank accounts while billions more are unaccounted for.