Wednesday, April 21, 2021

1MDB Case: Prosecutors need more time in money laundering case against Hollywood producer Riza Aziz

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The prosecution in Hollywood producer Riza Shahriz Abdul Aziz’s money laundering case involving US$248 million (RM1.25billion) has yet to complete all documents for the hearing.

Riza, the stepson of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is alleged to have misappropriated the money from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) funds.

His trial is fixed for hearing in January.

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Deputy public prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram told the Sessions Court this today after the High Court dismissed Riza’s application to transfer the case to the High Court.

“We need a little more time to obtain several documents related to the case.

“We also need time to complete the documents and hand it over to the defence team as soon as possible,” he said during case management today.

Sessions Court judge Rozina Ayob then fixed Dec 6 for the next case management.

On Sept 23, High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali dismissed the application, saying that Sessions Court judges were no less competent to hear the case and were very experienced to try such cases.

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He said the judges were also able to deal with other possibilities arising such as Mutual Assistance in the Criminal Matters Act 2002.

On July 5, Riza pleaded not guilty at the Sessions Court to five charges of involvement in money laundering activities involving US$248 million, which was misappropriated from the sovereign wealth fund.

According to the charges, Riza, popularly known as Riza Aziz, allegedly received proceeds from unlawful activities that originated from 1MDB amounting to US$248,173,104, which was transferred into two of Red Granite Productions Inc’s accounts via wire transfer.

Two transactions of US$1,173,104 and US$9,000,000 were made from an account belonging to Good Star Ltd at RBS Coutts Bank, Zurich, Switzerland.

The other three transactions of US$133,000,000, US$60,000,000 and US$45,000,000 came from an account belonging to Aabar Investments PJS Limited at BSI SA Lugano, Switzerland.

The offences were allegedly committed at the City National Bank, Los Angeles Main, 525 South Flower Street, Los Angeles, California, United States, and at BSI Bank Ltd, 7 Temasek Boulevard, #32-01 Suntec Tower One, Singapore, between April 12, 2011 and Nov 14, 2012.

The charges were framed under Section 41(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.

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