KUALA LUMPUR, Jul 27 – The High Court today set Oct 11 to hear an application by Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor to strike out a suit by a Lebanese wholesale jewellery firm seeking the return of 44 pieces of jewellery, worth USD14.79 million or RM59.83 million, allegedly sent to her for viewing.
Lawyer Datuk Geethan Ram, representing Rosmah, when met by reporters, said it would be heard before judicial commissioner Wong Chee Lin. On the same day, Wong would also hear an application from the government to be an intervener in the case, he added.
Geethan was met by reporters after management of the case, which was held in chambers before Senior Assistant Registrar Siti Faraziana Zainuddin. Another lawyer representing Rosmah, N. Rajivan said the application to strike out the suit was made on grounds that it breached the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.
He said the jewellery company should have obtained written permission from the Attorney-General’s Chambers before filing the civil suit. The indemnity claim by the company is premature because the jewellery items were only seized and it had yet to incur losses, he added.
The Lebanese company, Global Royalty Trading SAL, which is based in Beirut, filed the suit on June 26, demanding the wife of the former prime minister to return the jewellery or to pay the price for all the items totalling USD14.79 million or RM59.83 million.
The company’s lawyer, David Gurupatham, said the plaintiff would not object to the government’s application to be an intervenor in the case. Meanwhile, senior federal counsel Alice Loke Yee Ching, who appeared on behalf of the government, said the government was applying to be an intervenor in the case as the company claimed that the jewellery items were seized by the police.
In its statement of claim, Global Royalty, which is an international wholesale jeweller, claimed that Rosmah had been its long-standing customer and that the firm would send consignments of jewellery to her on her demand. She would then evaluate or purchase the items of her choice which she would pay on her own or through a third party.
The firm, which has been supplying jewellery for royalties and the rich and famous from all over the world, claimed that the items not chosen would normally be returned and in the certain situation, Rosmah would borrow the jewellery and then return it to the plaintiff.
The plaintiff also claimed that the defendant would receive the jewellery personally or through its personnel/agent in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore or Dubai. The firm claimed that on Feb 10 this year, it had sent 44 pieces of jewellery, including a diamond necklace, earrings, rings, bracelets and a tiara, each worth between USD124,000, (RM504,432) and USD925,000 to the defendant by hand through two of its agents.
The plaintiff said during the hand-over, the defendant also acknowledged and accepted the terms and conditions stated in the Memorandum No. 926 relating to the items. Global Royalty claimed that Rosmah, in a letter dated May 22, also confirmed and acknowledged receiving the items, but said the items were no longer in her custody as they had been seized and now under the custody of the Malaysian authority.
The firm claimed that at all material times, it was the owner of the jewellery and the ownership had never been transferred to Rosmah. Global Royalty is seeking a court declaration that the firm is the legal owner of the 44 pieces of jewellery, and an order stating that the ownership of the items was never transferred to the defendant.
It is also seeking a mandatory order for Rosmah to provide the list of jewellery items seized, an order for the jewellery to be returned or for Rosmah to be held responsible for paying the price of all the affected jewellery items.
Rosmah, in her defence, filed last July 23, denied purchasing any of the 44 jewellery items that were sent for her viewing and that ownership of the jewellery was never transferred to her.
She said the jewellery items were sent to her for viewing by virtue that she was the prime minister’s wife and on the plaintiff’s own accord and volition and without there being any obligation for Rosmah to purchase the jewellery. — Bernama