Malaysia Said to Consider Probing Najib for Abuse of Power

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim freed from jail

Anwar Ibrahim released after years in prison

The Malaysian police have confiscated a haul of luxury bags, jewellery and cash after raiding Kuala Lumpur properties linked to Najib Razak, the former prime minister who was ousted in a shock election result last week.

Speaking to reporters outside Mr Najib's Taman Duta residence at around 4am yesterday, the former premier's lawyer, Mr Harpal Singh Grewal, confirmed the police search and that Mr Najib and his family were cooperative.

Police mentioned possible money laundering offences but didn't mention 1MDB, he said, adding that there was "no indication at all" that Mr Najib would be arrested.

Najib's long-ruling political coalition was defeated in a May 9 general election and just days later, new Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad barred Najib and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, from leaving the country. Najib started the fund in 2009 and US investigators say at least $4.5 billion was stolen and laundered by Najib's associates, some of which landed in his bank account.

In a statement, Najib's lawyer Harpal Singh Grewal said police harassment continued for nearly 18 hours though Najib indicated his will to cooperate fully.

Documents seized from Mr Najib's former office are related to the ongoing investigation into 1MDB, Commercial Crime Investigation Department Director Amar Singh Ishar Singh said on Friday.

Smiling and waving to supporters on Wednesday, Mr Anwar, 70, was surrounded by his family, lawyers and prison guards before getting into a auto and driving to the palace for an audience with the king. Police officials couldn't be immediately reached for comment.

Mahathir, 92, has said an initial investigation showed the scale of wrongdoing by Najib's administration was more serious than thought.

Dr Mahathir said the Government would seek to retrieve billions of dollars laundered from 1MDB to repay government debts that had piled up over the years.

"I have given my assurance, I am here as a concerned citizen to give complete support to manage the country on the understanding that we are committed to the reform agenda, beginning with the judiciary, media and the entire apparatus", Anwar said in a news conference at his home after he was freed from custody.

Mahathir, who came out of retirement to lead the revolt against Najib, has signalled he will hand power to Anwar within two years.

U.S. prosecutors have alleged layers of foreign bank accounts and shell companies were used to launder the money and named Low Taek Jho, a friend of Najib's stepson, as a key figure in the conspiracy.

"Our personnel checked these bags and discovered various currencies including; Malaysian ringgit and U.S. dollars; watches, and jewelry in 72 bags", Singh said.

The operation on Thursday night was part of a continuing investigation ordered by newly-installed Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Najib. However, the police maintained that they were merely performing their duties.

Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak, centre, and former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, second left, are greeted by supporters after Friday prayers at the Barisan Nasional party headquarters in Kuala Lumpur on May 18, 2018. "I must thank the people of Malaysia", Anwar said.

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