Riza Aziz, stepson of former Malaysian PM Najib Razak, accused of receiving $248m into Swiss bank accounts
The Wolf of Wall Street producer Riza Aziz, who is the stepson of former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, has been charged with embezzling millions of dollars from the Malaysian government.
Riza, who ran a Hollywood production company Red Granite Pictures, appeared in a Kuala Lumpur court on Friday morning charged with five counts of money laundering, accused of receiving $248 million into Swiss bank accounts from the Malaysian state fund 1MDB, which was controlled by Najib. Each charge carries a five-year jail sentence.
Riza is now the third member of the former first family of Malaysia to face multiple charges linked to misappropriated 1MDB funds. Najib, who was toppled from power in May 2018, is facing 42 corruption charges and his first trial of at least three is ongoing. Najibs wife and Rizas mother, Rosmah Mansour, has also been charged with 17 counts of money laundering.
The 1MDB scandal, described as the biggest corruption scandal in Malaysian history, involved billions of dollars being embezzled from a government fund and fraudulently spent around the world. Some $681m (516m) of 1MDB money went into Najibs personal bank account, where it is alleged it was used to fund the lavish spending habits of Najib and Rosmah. The US justice department believes more than $4.5bn was stolen overall. The couple deny all wrongdoing.
Riza has been accused of receiving the 1MDB money into a bank account in Switzerland and then transferring the funds in smaller amounts, between $1.2m and $133m, into a Red Granite bank account in the US. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges and was granted bail of 1 million Malaysian ringgit ($240,000).
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