Riza Aziz, stepson of ex-PM Najib Razak, at Malaysian anti-graft agency to record statement

Mr Riza Aziz, stepson of former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, arrives at the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission in Putrajaya on July 3, 2018.
Mr Riza Aziz, stepson of former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, arrives at the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission in Putrajaya on July 3, 2018.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK, BLOOMBERG) - Mr Riza Aziz, the stepson of former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, arrived at the anti-graft agency headquarters on Tuesday (July 3) afternoon to have his statement recorded.

The 48-year-old film producer arrived at 1.30pm to help in the probe into troubled state fund 1MDB.

Clad in a dark suit and yellow shirt, he was accompanied by his lawyer Datuk M. Kumaraendran.

Sources at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) said he is expected to, among other things, address allegations that funds misappropriated from 1MDB were used to finance several Hollywood movies.

Mr Riza is co-founder of Hollywood film production company, Red Granite Pictures, which produced The Wolf Of Wall Street, among other movies.

In the United States, his production company had reached a US$60 million (S$82.1 million) settlement in a suit that alleged the movie was funded by money siphoned from 1MDB.

Malaysia's 1MDB task force is moving quickly to map the extent of wrongdoing at the state fund, freezing more than 400 bank accounts involving RM1.1 billion (S$372 million) and issuing arrest warrants, including for Mr Riza's friend Low Taek Jho.

In addition, the police have seized cash, handbags and jewellery valued at more than RM1 billion as part of the investigation. Combined, that still falls short of the US$4.5 billion that the US Department of Justice claims was embezzled from the fund.

 

The settlement that Mr Riza's Red Granite Pictures reached addressed one among two dozen forfeiture lawsuits filed by the US against US$1.7 billion of assets that were allegedly acquired through money diverted from 1MDB.

That includes real estate, art and proceeds from The Wolf Of Wall Street, which was directed by Martin Scorsese and starred Leonardo DiCaprio. The movie earned US$392 million globally, according to the website Box Office Mojo.

Investigators in Malaysia have questioned Datuk Seri Najib and his wife as part of the 1MDB case, along with former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who won polls on Saturday to lead the nation's main opposition party.