KUALA LUMPUR (April 17): Lebanese jewellery firm Global Royalty Trading SAL has filed a US$14.57 million or RM67.46 million suit against Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor for breach of contract over 43 missing pieces of jewellery.
The firm had shipped the jewellery to Rosmah, who is the wife of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, in February 2018, but they were not among the items confiscated by the police in a May 2018 raid.
Global Royalty refiled the suit on March 27 this year at the High Court’s commercial division through Messrs David Gurupatham and Koay, according to a file search conducted by The Edge.
The first case management of the matter took place on Monday (April 17) before High Court deputy registrar Rini Triany Muhamad Ali, who also fixed May 12 for the next case management as Rosmah has yet to be served with the suit, according to a statement by her lawyers Messrs Reza Rahim & Rajivan.
The firm had filed the original suit against Rosmah on June 26, 2018 at the High Court, but withdrew it in October 2019 following the government’s forfeiture of valuable items and cash in the Pavilion and Jalan Duta home raid. The firm participated in the forfeiture proceedings as a third-party claimant.
However, out of the 12,000 pieces of jewellery that were seized in the raid, Global Royalty had found only one diamond bracelet worth US$220,000 (RM1.01 million) belonging to the firm.
The bracelet has since been returned to the jeweller, but 43 pieces are still missing and unaccounted for.
The jewellery were returned to Rosmah after the High Court dismissed the government's bid to forfeit the jewellery in November. The suit was dismissed after the prosecution failed to show that the items were proceeds from unlawful activities related to 1Malaysia Development Bhd. The government did not appeal the court's decision.
Hence, Global Royalty is seeking a return of the 43 items from Rosmah in good condition from the date of the judgement.
If, for whatever reason, the items are not recoverable or returnable in reasonable or good condition, Rosmah is liable to pay the cost of the jewellery which amounts to US$14.57 million (RM67.46 million), along with interest and other reliefs granted by the court.
The jewellery, worth between US$124,000 and US$925,000, include diamond necklaces, earrings, rings, bracelets and a tiara. Some of the items come in sets like diamond necklace and earrings, family necklace and cushion pendants.
According to Messrs Reza Rahim & Rajivan, Rosmah will "vigorously resist and defend the suit filed against her".
"Therefore, the media and public should not make any speculative statements on this matter as the same may amount to being sub-judice of the legal proceedings and/or defamatory of our client," it said.
According to its statement of claim, Global Royalty is an international wholesale jeweller whose clientele include celebrities, politicians and members of royal families, including Angelina Jolie, Naomi Campbell, Oprah Winfrey and wealthy Middle Easterners.
The firm claimed that Rosmah would receive the pieces of jewellery herself or via her representatives or agents either in Kuala Lumpur, Dubai or Singapore.
The jewellery would come with a memorandum of delivery, describing the goods and the price, together with the terms and conditions thereunder.
Global Royalty said on Feb 10, 2018, its agents Samer Halimeh and Maen Shakhshir delivered the 44 items by consignment.
It added that during the handover, the defendant also acknowledged and accepted the terms and conditions stated in a memorandum relating to the items.
Global Royalty claimed that Rosmah, in a letter dated May 22, 2018, also confirmed and acknowledged receiving the items, with the condition of delivery and return of the jewellery, and that the title of the items remain the sole and exclusive property of the Lebanese firm, and Rosmah assumed and bears the loss and damage of the items, and in the event of loss or damage the defendant would indemnify the firm.
The firm further alleged that Rosmah had lied in her defence against its first suit, that the valuables were with the police for an offence under money laundering.
Hence, the firm claimed that Rosmah had failed, neglected and omitted the return of the jewellery.
As a result, the firm claimed that Rosmah had breached the Contracts Act by failing to return the items, and that entitled the firm to treat this as a serious violation of the entire contract.
Following the forfeiture proceedings, the firm claimed that the remaining 43 pieces of jewellery belonging to the firm were not in the possession, custody and control of the Malaysian police as alleged.
Global Royalty further alleged that following the risk of loss, as stipulated in the consignment note, Rosmah is now liable to pay the firm the total price of the remaining 43 pieces of jewellery belonging to the firm in the sum of US$14.57 million.
Rosmah was found guilty last Sept 1, and was sentenced by the High Court to 10 years in jail and a fine of RM970 million on three graft charges in relation to the 369 solar hybrid rural school project. She is appealing her conviction and sentence.
She also faces a scheduled trial next month on income tax and money laundering of RM7.1 million.
High Court dismisses forfeiture of jewellery, watches, and handbags worth RM80 million owned by Najib and Rosmah
Lebanese jeweller suddenly withdraws RM60m suit against Rosmah
Rosmah gives up claim on diamond bracelet
Rosmah found guilty of all charges, sentenced to 10 years' jail and record RM970 mil fine
High Court sets 15 days for Rosmah's money laundering, tax evasion trial