I’m old enough to remember when Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos ruled the Philippines until the people finally rose up and ran them out. Of all they stole from the nation’s treasury the attention focused on Imelda’s love of shoes and the 2,700 pairs of high-end shoes found in her closet.
Jim and Tammy Bakker were another couple whose fall from grace made the news in the 1980s. Their ill-gotten wealth came from bilking the vulnerable through their evangelical television programs. When the hammer fell it wasn’t just a closet full of shoes the investigators found. It was millions in collectible cars, jewels, furs, homes, planes, luxury air-conditioned houses for their pets, and high-end mascara for Tammy’s eyes.
These people became legendary for their excesses but compared to the former prime minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak, they were mere pikers. Razak was indicted yesterday and a list of his, and his wife’s, stolen goods released. They literally stole billions from the people and spent in on more luxury goods than anyone could possibly consume in a hundred lifetimes.
The listed included:
- $29 million in cash in 26 different currencies. It took three days, twenty-two people, and six counting machines to total it all up.
- Over 550 women’s handbags, some worth more than $100,000 each.
- 423 high-end watches.
- 234 pairs of sunglasses worth over $90 thousand.
- 12,000 pieces of jewelry worth $109 million.
- 2,800 pair of ear rings, 1,600 brooches, 2,200 finger rings and 1,400 necklaces.
- 14 diamond and bejeweled tiaras.
- 1,400 men’s neckties.
I don’t know where Razak ranks among criminal politicians but all totaled he stole at least $4.5 billion during his time in office. If this kind of thing catches your fancy, spend a little time digging into the former leader of the Ukraine. He may make Razak look like just another piker!