Malaysian ex-PM stepson to be charged with money laundering

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) – Malaysia’s anti-graft agency said yesterday it has detained Riza Aziz, the stepson of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and a Hollywood film producer, and will charge him with money laundering.

Anti-Corruption Commission Chief Latheefa Koya said Riza was picked up yesterday but has been released on bail.

“He has to appear before the court tomorrow to face charges under AMLA,” she said, referring to the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001. She declined to give details.

Riza was quizzed last July by the agency over alleged theft and money laundering at the 1MDB state investment fund.

United States (US) investigators said Riza’s company, Red Granite Pictures Inc, used money stolen from 1MDB to finance Hollywood films including the Martin Scorsese-directed The Wolf of Wall Street. Red Granite has paid the US government USD60 million to settle claims it benefitted from the 1MDB scandal.

Alleged corruption at the 1MDB fund helped bring on the unexpected defeat of Najib’s coalition in May 9 polls last year. The new government reopened investigations that were stifled while Najib was in office.

Najib is currently on trial for alleged criminal breach of trust, abuse of power and money laundering linked to 1MDB. He denies the charges. His wife, Rosmah Mansor, also has pleaded not guilty to money laundering and tax evasion related to 1MDB but her trial date has not been set.

Najib’s daughter, Nooryana Najwa, slammed the legal action against her brother.

This file photo shows former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak’s stepson Riza Aziz arriving to give a statement at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission headquarters in Putrajaya, outside Kuala Lumpur. – AFP