Najib's stepson grilled for third day at Malaysia's anti-graft agency

Mr Riza Aziz is believed to have been questioned on the alleged use of funds misappropriated from state fund 1MDB to finance several Hollywood films.
Mr Riza Aziz is believed to have been questioned on the alleged use of funds misappropriated from state fund 1MDB to finance several Hollywood films.

PUTRAJAYA • Mr Riza Aziz, the stepson of former prime minister Najib Razak, was back at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) yesterday for the third consecutive day of questioning.

He arrived at the agency's headquarters at 11.10am yesterday, a day after his stepfather Najib was charged with corruption in the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

Mr Riza had already spent two days with graft investigators, where he was grilled for hours.

He is believed to have been questioned on the alleged use of funds misappropriated from state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) to finance several Hollywood films. Mr Riza, 48, is the co-founder of Red Granite Pictures, which produced The Wolf Of Wall Street starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

According to the Reuters news agency, Red Granite had in March agreed to pay the US government US$60 million (S$82 million) to settle a civil lawsuit that sought to seize assets allegedly bought with money stolen from 1MDB.

US prosecutors filed a civil asset forfeiture action against the company in July 2016 as part of a broader effort to recoup more than US$1 billion allegedly embezzled from 1MDB.

The US Justice Department has accused financier Low Taek Jho of masterminding a scheme to steal US$4.5 billion from the fund.

Mr Riza is a close friend of Mr Low, also known as Jho Low.

US prosecutors alleged that Mr Riza used more than US$100 million taken from 1MDB to finance production of The Wolf of Wall Street, Dumb and Dumber To and Daddy's Home.

Mr Riza has claimed that he never knowingly used stolen funds for his film projects. He was also accused of using stolen funds to buy luxury real estate, including a US$35 million condominium in New York, a US$41.8 million London townhouse and a US$17.5 million mansion in Beverly Hills.

The US government is also seeking to seize these properties.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 06, 2018, with the headline 'Najib's stepson grilled for third day at Malaysia's anti-graft agency'. Print Edition | Subscribe