Najib: Riza has always loved movies, UAE prince promised a loan

Riza Aziz arrives at the KPJ tower in Kuala Lumpur October 26, 2018. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Riza Aziz arrives at the KPJ tower in Kuala Lumpur October 26, 2018. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 26 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak explained today that his stepson Riza Aziz has always been a movie buff and had wished to enter the film industry, which is why the latter established United States-based production house Red Granite Pictures.

Asked by Al Jazeera’s 101 East show on the funding and purchases which allegedly came from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), the former prime minister said the funds were promised by Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed.

“Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed told him in my presence that he was going to invest in his movies. We assumed that that whatever investment that was going to come from Abu Dhabi to fund it would be a loan.

“And my stepson was prepared to pay back every single cent that was given to him as a loan because it was a loan and he was prepared to pay it back,” he told host Mary Ann Jolley.

Riza, a son from Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor’s previous marriage before she wed Datuk Seri Najib Razak, is a co-founder of Red Granite.

A transcript of the interview was made available to Malay Mail. In the hour-long grilling, Najib lost his cool a couple of times.

The show will be aired on the news channel tomorrow at 11.30am Malaysian time.

Last month, it was reported that Red Granite has paid the remainder of the US$60 million (RM248 million) settlement to end its role in the US Justice Department’s kleptocracy action linked to 1MDB.

The settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing by Red Granite.

In July, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) called in Riza for questioning. Earlier today, he also gave a statement to the police’s Anti-Money Laundering Crime Investigation Team.

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