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Lebanese jeweller suddenly withdraws RM60m suit against Rosmah

KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 22): Lebanese jeweller Global Royalty SAL has suddenly withdrawn its suit against Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor over the handover of 44 pieces of jewellery to her that were worth US$14.79 million (RM60 million) in February last year, before the 14th general election in May.

Global Royalty lawyer Datuk David Gurupatham told reporters that his client Samir Halimeh — who came all the way from Lebanon — has decided to withdraw the claim and instead focus on intervening in the government’s forfeiture proceedings against OBYU Holdings Sdn Bhd, which was the owner of a property from which 12,000 pieces of jewellery were seized by the police last June.

“If the 44 pieces are among the ones forfeited by the police, we will take it up there with the government,” he said.

The lawyer added that High Court judge Justice Wong Chee Lin had allowed the withdrawal of the suit, with no order as to costs.

The decision was confirmed by senior federal counsel S Narkunavathy who appeared for the government as an intervener in the civil suit, and Rosmah's lawyer Rajivan Nambiar who appeared with Mohamad after parties met Justice Wong in her chambers.

With this, Gurupatham said the company will participate in the OBYU hearing scheduled on Oct 31.

He added that if the jeweller’s goods are not among the items seized, they may file a fresh suit against her.

Global Royalty SAL’s decision to drop the suit came right after Justice Wong rejected Rosmah’s bid to stay the trial, pending the government's appeal against the court, allowing the appointment of an independent jeweller to identify the 44 pieces of jewellery in contention.

It was previously reported that police only identified one piece of jewellery as possibly belonging to the firm, while Samir pinpointed four of them from pictures of the seized pieces.

The company filed the suit on June 26 last year to compel her to return the jewellery — which included a diamond necklace, earrings, rings, bracelets and a tiara, each worth between US$124,000 and US$925,000 — which it had sent to her for viewing.

In its statement of claim, the company said it would send consignments of jewellery at the request of Rosmah, who was its long-standing customer.

She would then evaluate or purchase the items of her choice, which she would pay for on her own or through a third party, and return the rest.

Global Royalty claimed that she had, in a letter dated May 22 last year, also confirmed and acknowledged receiving the items but said the items were no longer in her custody, as they were seized by the Malaysian authorities.

The jeweller sought, among other things, a mandatory order for Rosmah to provide the list of jewellery seized, an order for the jewellery to be returned, or if not, Rosmah shall be held responsible for paying the price for the items totalling US$14.79 million (RM59.83 million).

In her statement of defence filed on July 23, Rosmah denied purchasing any of the jewellery and said they were delivered for her viewing by virtue of the fact that she was the wife of Malaysia’s Prime Minister on the plaintiff’s own accord and volition, without any obligation for her to purchase the jewellery.

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