Riza discharged not amounting to acquittal for money laundering

by BERNAMA/ pic by BERNAMA

HOLLYWOOD producer Riza Shahriz Abdul Aziz (picture), who is the stepson of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, has been discharged, but not amounting to an acquittal  (DNAA), on money laundering charges involving US$248 million (RM1.25 billion), allegedly misappropriated from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) funds.

Judge Azman Ahmad made the ruling after both parties agreed to it  following several representations filed by Riza Shahriz against the charges.

“Court DNAA the accused. Bail of RM1 million will be returned to the two bailors,” said the judge.

Earlier, former Federal Court judge  Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, who was appointed as senior DPP in the case, informed the court that since the filing of the charges, the accused had made several representations through his solicitors to the relevant authorities.

He said these representations had been considered most carefully by those concerned.

“An agreement has been arrived at between the prosecution and the accused under the terms of which the federal government will receive a substantial sum running into several million ringgit,” he added.

Consequential to the agreement, he said the prosecution would not be proceeding with the charges made against Riza Shahriz  pending completion of the terms of the agreement.

“The prosecution with the consent of the accused now respectfully moves the Court for an order of discharge not amounting to an acquittal,” he added.

Sri Ram said if there is satisfactory completion of the terms of the agreement then appropriate steps would be taken to ensure full acquittal for Riza Shahriz.

“But if there is no satisfactory completion of the agreement reached, the prosecution reserves its right to reinstate the charges and to prosecute the accused to the full limit of the law,” he added.

Riza’s lawyer, Datuk Hariharan Tara Singh, confirmed to court  the agreement read by Sri Ram.

The case was set for case management today. The trial of the case has yet to commence.

On July 5 last year, Riza, 43,  the owner of Red Granite Pictures, pleaded not guilty to five charges of money laundering.

On the first charge, the producer of the Wolf of The Wall Street was accused of being involved in money laundering by accepting proceeds from unlawful activities amounting to US$1,173,104  through a money transfer transaction from an account of Good Star Limited in RBS Coutts, Zurich, Switzerland, to an account of Red Granite Productions Inc. at City National Bank, Los Angeles, United States.

The money was allegedly misappropriated from IMDB funds between April 12 and May 12, 2011  at City National Bank, Los Angeles Main, 525 South Flower Street, Los Angeles, California.

On the second charge, Riza, who is the son of Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor from her previous marriage, was accused of committing a similar offence involving US$9 million via transfers from the same account on Sept 10, 2012, and Oct 10, 2012, at the same place.

On the third and fourth charges, he was accused of a similar offence involving US$133 million and US$60 million in money transfers from an account  belonging to Aabar Investment PJS Limited, at BSI SA, Lugano, Switzerland to account at BSI Bank Limited, Singapore belonging to Red Granite Capital Ltd.

The offences were allegedly committed at BSI Ltd, 7 Temasek Boulevard, #32-01 Suntec Tower One, Singapore on June 18, 2012, and Oct 23, 2012.

On the fifth charge, Riza was accused of committing a similar  offence amounting to US$45 million at the same place on Nov 14, 2012.

The charges were framed according to Section 4(1) (a) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001, which carries a fine not exceeding RM5 million or imprisonment not exceeding five years, or both upon conviction.