FORMER prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s wife Rosmah Mansor, who is facing a US$14.6 mil suit brought by a Lebanese jeweller over her failure to return 43 items allegedly delivered to her almost five years ago, said Global Royalty Trading SAL has no legal standing to bring the action.
According to Rosmah, the litigation is incompetent and unsustainable.
“The plaintiff lacks a valid cause of action and the claim is also an abuse of the court process,” said Rosmah in her defence filed against the company.
She further claimed that the suit was filed outside of jurisdiction and should have been filed in a New York court because the plaintiff was relying on a primary document from that state.
Global Realty filed the suit on March 29 this year over a consignment that it claimed included diamond necklaces, earrings, rings, bracelets and tiaras, each valued at between US$124,000 (RM555,300) and US$925,000 (RM4.14 mil).
It said that the package which was allegedly hand-delivered to Rosmah by two agents on Feb 10, 2018, had not been returned.
However, Rosmah stated that the jewellery was no longer in her hands because it had been seized by officials and taken into custody.
Earlier in 2019, the government filed a forfeiture complaint to confiscate 11,991 pieces of jewellery, 401 watch bands, 16 watch accessories, 234 pairs of spectacles and 306 handbags, as well as more than RM114 mil in cash in various denominations.
The seizure was carried out as part of an inquiry into the 1MDB financial scandal.
Moreover, the government’s forfeiture application was denied by the High Court because the prosecution failed to establish that the things were obtained with funds from unlawful activities related to 1MDB.
Rosmah was given an order to return the items.
Furthermore, Global Royalty stated that it only recovered a diamond bracelet worth $220,000, leaving the remainder which became the basis of the civil claim, unaccounted for.
Rosmah asserted in her alternative defence that corporate entities such as the plaintiff solicited clients such as her to gain notoriety and purchase their products because she was the wife of a prime minister.
“The jewellery was handed to the defendant to be inspected in order to get publicity and enhance the plaintiff’s credibility among potential buyers,” said the defence statement filed by Messrs Reza Rajiv & Sanjivan yesterday (June 6).
The defence added that a consignment note delivered to Rosmah on May 22, 2018 on the status of the valuables was not in order, incomplete and falsified with the aim of committing fraud.
“Rosmah had taken reasonable steps to ensure the safety of the jewellery, and details will be revealed during the trial. As such, the defendant could not be held responsible for the loss of jewellery that was seized by the police in accordance with the legal process,” it said in the statement.
Meanwhile, Rosmah noted that whatever memorandum she signed with the plaintiff or its agent was contractually frustrated as the valuables were confiscated by the police.
“I had no intention to create any legal relationship with the plaintiff after having inspected the jewellery.”
After a case management hearing before High Court deputy registrar Rini Triany Ali, Rosmah’s lawyer Rajivan Nambiar said that the plaintiff had till June 27 to respond to the defence. – June 7, 2023
Main photo credit: Malaysiakini