Lebanese jeweler suing Rosmah believes she wanted to wear bling at GE14 victory events

Former Malaysian first lady Rosmah Mansor. AFP FILE PHOTO
Former Malaysian first lady Rosmah Mansor. AFP FILE PHOTO

The man behind the Lebanese jewelers currently embroiled in a lawsuit with former first lady Rosmah Mansor has spoken with The Times, and indicated he believes Rosmah had intended to wear some of their pieces at event proceeding a BN GE14 victory that never actually happened. Oops.

Samer Halimeh, the Lebanese-born, American diamond jeweler behind Samer Halimeh New York originally delivered 44 pieces of jewelry to the former first lady earlier this year and is now seeking their return via lawsuit.

Rosmah, the wife of ousted Prime Minister Najib Razak, is counter-suing, claiming that the pieces were simply sent to her — gifts from the bling stork, no doubt.

Valued at RM60 million (US$14.8 million), the haul included individual pieces ranging between RM500,000 (US$125,000) to RM3.8m million (US$930,000) each. Among these were diamond rings, necklaces, earrings, and allegedly, a tiara.

We’ll remind you that at this time, Rosmah is neither a Queen, nor even remotely Yas Queen.

Halimeh went on to further detail the special relationship between himself and the former first family: Their 10-year relationship began in London, beginning at charity and fashion shows. Their success led Rosmah to begin buying jewelry from him.

How close were they? Friendly enough for Halimeh and his wife to be invited as guests to Najib and Rosmah’s daughter’s wedding in 2015. He revealed that guests received, among other things, Hermes handbags as a present from the bride and groom.

Samer Halimeh met Rosmah via a client that was from the Brunei royal family. At the time, Rosmah asked Halimeh to sponsor and supply jewelry for an Islamic Fashion Festival, party of a Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week held in London.

Highlighting that he was connected to the Saudi, Qatari, Abu Dhabi, Brunei and Malaysian royal families, it seemed like a good match. The jeweler calls it “one of the most lavish VIP events ever held in London.” It led Halimeh to supply Rosmah with pieces to wear at events around the world, including London, Monte Carlo, and Kuala Lumpur.

“Between 2011 and 2015, the entourage of Rosmah Mansor purchased jewelry from Samer Halimeh New York, some of which was for themselves, some items as ‘gifts’ for Mansor,” he told the UK paper.

After 2015, the two camps remained in contact, but no parties or events were organized together.

If the year 2015 is piquing your interest, you might remember that it was also the year that the misappropriation of 1MDB funds became an international talking point. What a coincidence.

Last month, Malaysian customs officials revealed that no import declaration of the 44-piece consignment was ever made.

But in his chat with the Times, Halimeh revealed how the pieces made their way into Rosmah’s possession, saying that at the request of her staff, the pieces were hand-delivered at events in Singapore, Hong Kong and Qatar. Her staff members then brought them back to KL for her.

Note: This stuff still has to be declared, and taxed.

Halimeh says that it is quite common for his high-end clients (in this case, the wife of a civil servant) to try pieces before purchasing, typically keeping two to four of those sent, and returning the rest.

Unfortunately, Rosmah had not returned any of the pieces when they were seized by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) authorities, and the sparklers are now living in limbo.

They’re not only part of a wide-ranging investigation into the misappropriation of 1MDB funds, there is now the added complication of them never having been declared in the first place, which legally – makes them property of the Malaysian government.

Halimeh would like to see the pieces returned, citing that just like any online order, unwanted goods need to be returned to the retailer.

Sir, we hate to break it to you, but this sounds a lot more complicated than sending back an ill-fitting dress.

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