KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – The wife of Malaysia’s former prime minister was Wednesday questioned for almost 13 hours by investigators probing the multi-billion-dollar scandal that helped topple her husband’s government.
Rosmah Mansor, known in Malaysia for her profligate spending on luxury goods, arrived at the anti-corruption agency before 10am.
Wearing a bright green dress and headscarf, the 66-year-old emerged close to 11pm and was whisked away in a car. Officials are said to be in the final stages of investigating her over the alleged looting of state fund 1MDB and she could reportedly be charged soon.
It was the second time she had been questioned by the graft-fighting body since her husband Najib Razak’s coalition was unexpectedly ousted from office at elections in May after six decades in power.
A major factor in the loss were allegations that Najib, his family and his cronies looted billions of dollars from 1MDB in an audacious fraud that stretched from Singapore to Switzerland.
Najib was last week hit with a barrage of money-laundering and abuse of power charges over the scandal. It is alleged that hundreds of millions of dollars ended up in his personal bank accounts. He denies any wrongdoing.
Rosmah’s love of costly overseas shopping trips, designer handbags and jewellery made her a lightning rod for public anger, and fuelled suspicions that she benefited from the plundering of 1MDB.
After the election loss, a stash of cash, jewellery and hundreds of designer handbags worth as much as US$273 million was seized from properties linked to Najib in raids around Kuala Lumpur.
Rosmah is often compared to Imelda Marcos, who left behind more than a thousand pairs of shoes after her husband, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, was ousted in 1986.
Najib’s fall from grace has been swift since he lost power to a reformist alliance led by Mahathir Mohamad, 93, who is in his second stint as premier.