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Rosmah may have to fork out S$20m for undeclared jewellery if Malaysia Customs seizes it
[PETALING JAYA] Rosmah Mansor will have to fork out RM60 million (S$20.2 million) for the consignment of jewellery from a Lebanese firm if the Customs Department decides to seize it.
Global Royalty Trading's lawyer David Gurupatham said that if Customs were to seize the 44 pieces of jewellery, then the wife of former prime minister Najib Razak would have to pay for them.
"As far as our client (Global Royalty) is concerned, whoever wants to seize the goods is fine, but someone has to pay for them.
"We would have to claim the amount from Rosmah," David said, adding that the items were currently seized under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.
Customs director-general Seri T Subromaniam had said that the 44 pieces might be subject to further seizure if the consignment had not been declared.
However, he declined to say whether the goods had been declared, saying only that investigations were under way.
A source familiar with ongoing investigations said most of the jewellery was delivered and received by Rosmah's agents or people connected to her abroad.
The source added that Customs was checking to identify who these agents were and how the items were brought in.
Meanwhile, David brushed off claims that the lawsuit over the "missing" jewellery was a conspiracy to "help" Rosmah.
"It cannot be a conspiracy because the authorities have seized 12,000 pieces of jewellery," he added.
"The ones in question are just 44 pieces and these have no relevance to the overall investigations."
He also clarified that Global Royalty was a company registered in Lebanon, in the light of many questions over the company's existence and whether it was a front for other businesses.
"When you do a company search, you actually do a company search, not a Google search.
"It is also a legitimate part of Samer Halimeh. Whether or not it is a particular vehicle to seal the deal of transaction, that is actually quite normal," David said.
In Global Royalty's statement of claim, Samer Halimeh and/or Maen Shakshir were named as the salesman/agent who delivered the jewellery consignment by hand.
Samer Halimeh is a world-renowned jeweller with an exclusive clientele. It has luxurious boutiques in New York, London, Riyadh and Cannes.
In Malaysia, there is a Samer Halimeh outlet at the Starhill Gallery in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur.
Among the jeweller's clients are supermodel Naomi Campbell, US media mogul Oprah Winfrey, award-winning actress Angelina Jolie and singer Elton John.
On June 26, Global Royalty filed a RM60 million legal suit against Rosmah over a consignment of "missing" jewellery.
It is seeking a mandatory order for the 44 items, amounting to US$14,787,770, to be returned.
Naming Rosmah as its "longstanding customer", the firm said it was common practice to deliver consignments to Rosmah at her request for evaluation prior to eventual purchases.
The consignment was delivered by hand on Feb 10.
On May 22, Rosmah confirmed in a letter to Global Royalty that she had received the jewellery, but it was no longer in her possession as it was seized by the authorities.
Rosmah's lawyers have also come out to say that the 44 items were only for Rosmah's viewing and that none of them was purchased.
From the raids, police seized cash, jewellery, handbags, watches and sunglasses worth up to RM1.1 billion, of which jewellery was around RM440 million - excluding workmanship cost, which is normally 10 per cent to 20 per cent of the price.
More than 12,000 pieces of jewellery - comprising 2,800 earrings, 2,200 rings, 2,100 bracelets, 1,600 brooches and 14 tiaras - were seized.
Meanwhile, the Attorney-General's Chambers will be intervening the suit on the grounds that the 44 pieces of jewellery belonged to the government and that the items were bought using stolen money.
THE STRAITS TIMES