Malaysia

US jeweller backs Rosmah’s denial of RM24m ring buy

BY IDA LIM
April 06, 2013
Latest Update: April 07, 2013 12:26 am

KUALA LUMPUR, April 6 — Nearly two years after the story hit headlines, pro-Umno bloggers are now publicising a video to prove Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor had not bought a RM24 million diamond ring from world-famous jeweller Jacob & Co.

In a YouTube video uploaded by blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin yesterday, an employee from the New York-based jewellery firm said the wife of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had only inspected the ring, which was later sold to an unnamed client in June last year.

“It was shipped for exhibition and inspection purposes only, not for sale, to the attention of Maira Nazarbayev in care of Madam Rosmah Mansor (picture),” Philip Nassimi, the director of fine jewellery at Jacob & Co, said in the video, referring to the mother of Rosmah’s future son-in law.

Opposition leaders have been using the ring controversy to back their allegations that the wife of the country’s chief executive has been abusing her position to reap riches and finery for herself.

In the deep interior of Malaysia’s Malay-majority constituencies, CDs, pamphlets and glossy photographs showing Rosmah and the RM24 million ring have been distributed since 2011, years ahead of the coming 13th general election.

But according to Nassimi’s video interview, the 30.11-carat blue-grey diamond ring worth US$8 million (RM24.8 million) was shipped from New York to Malaysia on April 15, 2011, but was returned to Jacob & Co on May 13, 2011, and was never purchased by Rosmah.

In the video, shipping documents and a US Customs and Border Protection paper were shown to prove that the ring was indeed shipped out of Malaysia and then back to the American firm.

Nassimi said Rosmah’s name appeared on the shipping documents only because the jewellery firm was required to address the item to a Malaysian as Nazarbayev is not a citizen of the country.

“The reason why on the house airway bill it was mentioned Madam Rosmah Mansor’s name was because in order to ship a valuable into Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, it had to be shipped in care of a local Malaysian, not a foreigner.”

He also said: “Due to the fact that Maira Nazarbayev was residing as a guest in the prime minister’s residence, the item had to be shipped in such a manner.” 

Nassimi said Nazarbayev is a highly-respected VIP client with almost 10 years of dealings with the firm, adding that another VIP client had bought the ring, but declined to name the individual.

“This ring was not purchased by Madam Rosmah nor Maira Nazarbayev,” he concluded in the video that was over three minutes long. 

Pro-Umno bloggers have this week posted evidence that allegedly showed the prime minister’s wife did not buy a RM24 million diamond ring, despite Rosmah having already denied the allegations in her biography launched last month.

In her self-titled book, Rosmah said the diamond ring was only brought in for a private viewing by Nazarbayev during preparations for the engagement ceremony between her daughter Nooryana Najwa and Nazarbayev’s son Daniyar. The two were engaged here on June 17, 2011.

“It (the ring) arrived here (in Kuala Lumpur) on April 16, 2011. After it was seen by Maira, the ring was returned and taken out from Malaysia through the Singapore port on April 20, 2011. This was managed by Malca Amit Malaysia and Singapore. It was then returned to the Jacob & Co headquarters in New York on May 13, 2012,” said Rosmah.

The allegation was first raised in 2011 by former PKR central committee member Badrul Hisham Shaharin, where he lodged a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), claiming that he received information that a ring tagged at RM24,458,400 was flown into Kuala Lumpur with Rosmah as the receiver.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz later clarified that although the ring was brought into the country, it was not sold and was eventually returned to the company which owns it.

Rosmah had then denied the allegation and labelled it as slander, but did not say whether she had seen the ring.