KUALA LUMPUR: It was his wife’s birthday and Datuk Seri Najib Razak spent US$130,625 (RM466,330.11) on a luxury watch to mark the special occasion, the High Court heard.
The former prime minister purchased the watch in the United States on Dec 22, 2014.
“The purchase at Chanel in Honolulu was a watch that I bought as a gift for my wife’s birthday in December,” he said.
Coincidentally, Dec 10, today, is Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor’s 68th birthday.
The issue of Rosmah’s watch was raised during examination-in-chief at the SRC International Sdn Bhd trial when Najib was asked by his lawyer Rahmat Hazlan about two controversial transactions he made using credit cards.
The other transaction is a RM127,017.46 bill at Shangri-La Hotel in Bangkok in January 2015.
“Regarding the Shangri-La transaction, just after my trip to Kota Baru to check on the flood situation there, I continued my private vacation in Bangkok, Thailand, where I flew to straight from Kota Baru.
“Although this was a private trip, I took the opportunity to meet with my Thai counterpart, Prayut Chan-o-cha, to discuss how the Thai government would be able to help us with the bad flood situation,” he said yesterday.
The money spent at Shangri-La covered Najib’s stay as well as the supporting staff who accompanied him, unexpected as well as required expenses throughout the trip.
“It is within my right to claim the expenses from the government considering that I worked on my trip.
“However, I chose to bear the expenses because I don’t want to complicate matters and I exercised my discretion,” he said.
Najib said he did not apply for the credit card but it was offered to him by the bank.
Another credit card statement showed that RM3,282,734.16 (EU763,500) was spent at a famous Italian jeweller, De Grisogono, in Sardinia, Italy, on Aug 8, 2014.
“I was in Sardinia for a private holiday with family. There, I met then Qatar prime minister Sheikh Ahmed Jassim Al Thani.
“It was a coincidence during our holidays and we decided to meet in Sardinia,” he said.
Najib explained that the purchase at De Grisogono was for jewellery as a gift to Sheikh Ahmad’s wife.
Sheikh Ahmad and his wife Noor Abdulaziz Abdulla Turki Al-Subaie had given presents to Rosmah and Najib during their trips to Malaysia, and the former prime minister said it was only fitting to gift the couple with presents suitable to match their position and generosity.
“I did not want to use public funds for this gift and I thought since this account was readily available, it was only reasonable to use this account as compared to public funds,” he said, adding that Noor Abdulaziz had sent Rosmah a thank you note for the gift they gave her in Sardinia.
Najib, who was reading from his 243-page statement, said he was meticulous about expenses.
“My lawyer had prepared a breakdown of the funds used in the account, including the credit card expenses from August 2013 until March 2015.
“The total of my personal spending was 0.4% from the funds received in the account,” he said.
The court had previously heard a testimony from AmBank senior vice-president Yeoh Eng Leong about Najib’s spending on two credit cards.
Najib is facing seven charges – three for criminal breach of trust, one for abuse of power and three for money laundering involving SRC International Sdn Bhd funds totalling RM42mil.
The hearing continues before Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali continues today.
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