Saturday, December 4

Rosmah fails to stay proceedings in suit by Lebanese jewellery firm

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KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here yesterday dismissed Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor’s application to stay the trial of a lawsuit filed by a Lebanese jewellery firm seeking the return of 44 pieces of jewellery worth US$14.79 million or almost RM60 million, which is claimed to have been sent to the former prime minister’s wife for viewing purposes.

Justice Wong Chee Lin ordered Rosmah to pay RM3,000 in costs to the Lebanese jewellery firm.

Earlier, lawyer Mohamed Reza Rahim, representing Rosmah submitted that they were awaiting the government’s appeal at the Court of Appeal against the court’s decision to allow Rosmah to appoint an independent jewellery expert to identify and verify the number of jewellery pieces currently in the custody of Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM).

“However, we are ready, able and prepared to proceed with the trial,” he said.

Lawyer Datuk David Gurupatham, who acted for the jewellery firm, Global Royalty Trading SAL, said the trial was supposed to proceed yesterday as the jeweller Samir Halimeh was ready to take the stand.

Speaking to reporters later, Gurupatham said that the trial was postponed as there was a pending appeal on the issue of the jury (independent jewellery expert).

“If my client gives evidence and leaves, then it is going to prejudice him. Although the stay has been dismissed, there is a pending appeal to identify and verify the 44 pieces of jewellery or just one piece or any of it in the forfeiture court.

“So, we decided to withdraw the case, pending the outcome of the forfeiture court. If the forfeiture court said there is a jury (independent jewellery expert), then we will take action against the government or Rosmah,” he said.

When asked whether he can file a new suit, the lawyer said nothing can stop them from doing so.

In its suit, Global Royalty claimed that on Feb 10, 2018, it had sent 44 pieces of jewellery including diamond necklaces, earrings, rings, bracelets and tiaras, each worth between US$124,000 (RM519,183) and US$925,000 (RM3.8 million) to the defendant, hand-delivered via two of its agents. The company said Rosmah had acknowledged receipt of the items and agreed to the terms and conditions contained in Memorandum No 926 pertaining to the jewellery.

The company claimed that Rosmah, via a letter dated May 22, 2018, also confirmed and acknowledged the receipt of the jewellery but stated that all the jewellery was no longer in her possession because it was seized and placed under the custody of the Malaysian authorities.

Global Royalty has applied for the court to declare it as the legal owner of the jewellery and that ownership had never been transferred to the defendant.

It is also seeking a mandatory order for Rosmah to provide a list of the jewellery seized and for the jewellery to be returned or for Rosmah to pay the price of the jewellery valued at US$14.79 million (RM59.83 million). — Bernama