US$24m ring returned after ‘a few days’, minister tells Parliament
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 4 — Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz told Parliament today no payment had been made on a US$24 million (RM77 million) ring linked to the prime minister’s wife.
In a written reply to Lim Lip Eng (DAP-Segambut), the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said the Royal Malaysian Customs confirmed that the ring was “returned” after “a few days” to the company that owns it.
Datuk Seri Najib Razak denied on August 21 that his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor bought the diamond ring or that his Kazakhstan in-laws are linked to the “Russian mafia” as reported by Indonesia’s top-selling daily, Kompas.
Kompas has since apologised to the prime minister for its August 4 report but the mystery remains as to why the ring from New York jeweller Jacob & Co. was addressed to Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, according to pictures widely circulated on the Internet.
Questions had arisen as to whether Rosmah’s name had been used without her knowledge by criminal elements as part of their illegal activities. To date, the government has yet to identify who brought the ring into Malaysia.
Jacob & Co. founder Jacob Arabo, whose custom diamond-encrusted wristwatches and chunky jewellery once adorned Hollywood A-listers like Leonardo DiCaprio and hip-hop stars Kanye West and Jay-Z, is no stranger to such allegations.
The Bukharian-American jeweller, described by the New York Times as the “Harry Winston of the hip-hop world”, has twice tangled with US federal law enforcement agencies.
In a column on August 4, Kompas described Rosmah’s ties with soon-to-be in-law Maira Nazarbayev as close although it provided no evidence to support its claims and added, “Maira Nazarbayev, who lives a lifestyle a la Imelda Marcos, supposedly has links to the Russian mafia”.
Maira is the former wife of Kazakhstan President Nursultan Abishuly Nazarbayev’s brother, Bolat Nazarbayev. Nooryana Najwa, the 22-year-old daughter of Rosmah and Najib, was recently betrothed to Maira’s son, Daniyar, who was her college sweetheart.
Rosmah has faced repeated allegations that she has a penchant for a lavish lifestyle ever since it became apparent that Najib would succeed Tun Abdullah Badawi as prime minister.