The charges against lm producer Riza are related to the millions received from Jho Low’s company Good Star
by SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
THE stepson of former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak and long-time friend of fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho — or better known as Jho Low — Riza Shahriz Abdul Aziz, is expected to face criminal charges for money laundering today.
The producer of Hollywood blockbuster The Wolf of Wall Street, a movie alleged to have been financed with money siphoned from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), has been under investigation by local authorities for months.
Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Latheefa Koya said Riza had been briefly arrested and released on bail, and will be summoned to the court.
“We would like to confirm the MACC’s arrest of Riza at 12pm (yesterday) and he has been released on bail.
“He has to appear in court tomorrow to face charges under the Anti-Money Laundering Act,” she said in a statement yesterday.
The charges against Riza, 49 — who is also the owner of Red Granite Pictures, the company that produced the movie which starred Leonardo DiCaprio — are related to the millions received from Jho Low’s company.
DiCaprio had cooperated with the US Department of Justice (DoJ) in one of the world’s largest financial larceny investigations, and returned paintings believed to be bought with money stolen from the fund. Riza, who is the son of Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, co-founded Red Granite with Joey McFarland in 2010.
Red Granite reached a settlement with the DoJ and paid US$60 million (RM247.8 million) to the US government in September 2017 on a civil forfeiture claim over the rights to the film “The Wolf of Wall Street”. The US government then channelled the proceeds to Malaysia.
Riza was quizzed numerous times by the MACC since July last year, nearly a month after his mother was questioned by the MACC.
Meanwhile, Latheefa confirmed with The Malaysian Reserve in a text message yesterday that Datuk Habibul Rahman Kadir Shah — who is one of Najib’s close confidantes — was not arrested. A news portal earlier reported that Habibul had been arrested.
Local media had been buzzing that Riza will be facing five money laundering charges linked to funds channelled by Good Star Ltd, a company associated with the flamboyant Jho Low.
The DoJ has accused Jho Low as the man behind the US$4.5 billion larceny of 1MDB’s funds which were planned for strategic development. Jho Low’s whereabouts remain a mystery, but reports have suggested that he could be in China.
Najib is already facing 42 charges related to corruption, abuse of power, money laundering and criminal breach of trust, while his wife Rosmah also faces various criminal charges.