By Dan Byrne
More than US60 Million in property and other assets have been surrendered by a prominent Malaysian film producer to the US Department of Justice, in a case which is expected to deliver over US1.1 billion back to the Malaysian people.
Riza Aziz is the co-founder of Los Angeles-based Red Granite Pictures, which produced the well-known film The Wolf of Wall Street.
He had been under investigation since September 2015 for his part in a large-scale money laundering scandal involving 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
Run by the Malaysian government, this strategic development company has been identified as a facility for several individuals to channel millions of dollars to their private bank accounts, with Aziz being one benefactor.
The property assets seized from Aziz by this DoJ settlement include a house in Beverly Hills (an upmarket suburb of Los Angeles), a New York condominium and a London townhouse.
Other assets include proceeds from investments in a Kentucky maintenance company, and proceeds from the sale of a movie poster from the 1972 film Metropolis.
While Aziz himself will not directly admit wrongdoing under this agreement, The DoJ’s Criminal Division Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt disagrees.
He considers the settlement and effective confession from Aziz that he was involved in illegally channelling funds for private use through 1MDB.
He also said that it sends a clear message that his department will not permit launderers to make use of American financial systems to carry out illegal activity, or hide stolen wealth.
“The forfeiture of these assets will add to the almost US1.1 billion stolen from 1MDB that the US Department of Justice has so far helped recover and return to the Malaysian people,” he added.
On a wider scene, this most recent settlement is, ‘just another drop in the bucket,’ according to California attorney Nick Hanna, who expects more to follow in what he describes as ‘massive fraud and money laundering scheme.’
Share this on:
Follow us on: