Riza Aziz given discharge not amounting to acquittal

Riza Shahriz Abdul Aziz (left), the stepson of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak with his lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

KUALA LUMPUR: Riza Shahriz Abdul Aziz, the stepson of Datuk Seri Najib Razak, has been given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal by the Sessions Court here over five counts of money laundering charges involving US$248mil (RM1.25bil) linked to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

Sessions Court judge Azman Ahmad made the ruling after both parties reached an agreement through a representation sent to the Attorney General's Chambers.

Thursday (May 14) was initially fixed for case management.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, who led the prosecution, read a statement to the court, saying Riza has made several representations since he was first charged.

"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.

"The sum have direct reference to the subject matter of the charges framed in this case," Sri Ram said.

He added that as a consequence of the agreement, the charges framed against Riza would not be proceeded with pending the completion of the agreement.

"The prosecution with the consent of the accused now respect moves the court for an order of discharge not amounting to an acquittal," Sri Ram said.

After the statement was read, Azman then made the order for discharge not amounting to an acquittal.

The court also ordered for Riza's RM1mil bail in two sureties to be returned.

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

On the first charge, the producer of Wolf of Wall Street was accused of being involved in money laundering proceeds from unlawful activities amounting to US$1,173,104 (RM4.9mil) via a transaction made from an account with the number 11116073, which belonged to Good Star Limited at RBS Coutts, Switzerland to account number 123248291 of City National Bank, Los Angeles belonging to Red Granite Productions Inc.

The money was allegedly misappropriated from 1MDB funds between April 12 and May 12 at City National Bank, Los Angeles Main, 525 South Flower Street, Los Angeles, California.

On the second charge, Riza, who is the son of Najib's wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor from her previous marriage, was accused of committing the same offence involving US$9mil (RM37.6mil) via transfers from the same account on Sept 10,2012, and Oct 10,2012, at the same premises.

On the third and fourth charges, he was accused of the same offence involving US$133mil (RM555.7mil) and US$60mil (RM250.6mil) in money transfers from account number 81134378 belonging to Aabar Investment PJS Limited, at BSI SA, Lugano, Switzerland to account number 6C02250A at BSI Bank Limited, Singapore belonging to Red Granite Capital Ltd.

The offence was 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 the same offence amounting to US$45million (RM188mil) at the same venue 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 RM5mil or imprisonment not exceeding five years, or both upon conviction.

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