KUALA LUMPUR, May 14 — The settlement of “several million ringgit” from Riza Shahriz Abdul Aziz following his release from five counts of money laundering potentially stands to be at almost half a billion ringgit, according to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
MACC, in acknowledging the latest developments surrounding the case of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s stepson, pointed out however, that the discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) granted to Riza does not exclude him from future legal action from prosecutors if a settlement is not reached.
“As a result, the Malaysian government is expected to recover overseas assets involved in the offense, which is estimated at US$107.3 million (RM465.3 million).
“Based on the agreement, the accused is required to pay a compound to the government under Section 92 of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 which is punitive as an alternative to the charges that have been brought against him,” read a statement issued by MACC today.
“The agreement between the prosecution and the accused through representation in court was a decision considered and agreed by the former attorney general, Tan Sri Tommy Thomas,” the statement pointed out.
This comes after Riza was reported granted the DNAA at the sessions court here this morning, where ad-hoc prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, who was lead prosecutor, was quoted saying how the agreement had been made between the prosecution and the accused.
Sri Ram was said to have told the court that the federal government would receive a substantial sum running into “several million ringgit” as a result of the agreement.
On July 5, 2019, Riza — who is also co-founder of the Hollywood production house Red Granite Pictures and son of Najib’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor — was charged with five counts of money-laundering under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001 (AMLATFA).
Riza pleaded not guilty and claimed trial to the five charges, which are each punishable with a maximum RM5 million fine or maximum five-year jail term or both.
He was accused of receiving a total of US$248,173,104 (equivalent to about RM1.026 billion by the exchange rate on the day he was charged or over RM1.075 billion by today’s exchange rate) between April 2011 and November 2012.
The funds were alleged to have flowed in cross-border transactions from two Switzerland bank accounts of two companies named in the massive 1MDB financial scandal — Good Star Limited and Aabar Investments PJS Limited — to the US bank account of Red Granite Productions Inc and the Singapore bank account of Red Granite Capital Ltd.