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Riza Aziz RM1.18b money laundering trial tentatively set for January 2020

KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 9): The trial for Riza Shahriz Abdul Aziz (pictured), stepson of Datuk Seri Najib Razak, entailing five charges of money laundering amounting to US$248.17 million (RM1.18 billion) has been tentatively fixed for January next year.

Sessions Court Judge Rozina Ayob had set Sept 20 for the next case management, which prompted senior deputy public prosecutor (DPP) Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram to ask for dates for the hearing to commence.

"We are proposing January 6 to 9 and January 13 to 16. We don’t have many witnesses,” said Sri Ram.

“How many witnesses are you expecting?” asked the judge.

“Less than 10. About four or five,” said the senior DPP, adding that there will be one foreign witness from Singapore.

Rozina agreed to the tentative dates for the hearing and asked that the prosecution to submit the relevant documents.

DPP Ahmad Akram Gharib told reporters after the proceedings that the prosecution has submitted a portion of the documents comprising bank statements.

“We are still obtaining some documents from the bank in the US. We have already submitted the documents from the Swiss and Singaporean banks so far and we hope to get the rest before Sept 20,” said Ahmad Akram.

On July 5, Riza pleaded not guilty to all five charges of money laundering amounting to US$248.17 million belonging to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) between April 12, 2011, and Nov 14, 2012.

He was accused to have received the funds through a bank account of Hollywood production house Red Granite Productions Inc, which he co-founded and was itself charged in the US for misappropriating monies from 1MDB.

The funds were transferred from the Swiss accounts of Good Star Ltd — linked to fugitive businessman Jho Low — and Aabar Investment PJS Ltd to the accounts of Red Granite in the US and Singapore, which Riza co-founded.

The first charge relates to the transfer of US$1.17 million from Good Star's account 11116073 in RBS Coutts to Red Granite's bank account 123284291 in US City National Bank between April 12, 2011 and May 12, 2011.

The second charge relates to the transfer of US$9 million from Good Star to Red Granite between Sept 10, 2012 2011 and Oct 10, 2012.

The third charge relates to the transfer of US$133 million from Aabar Investment's account 81134378 in BSI SA to Red Granite Capital Ltd's BSI Bank account 6C02250A in Singapore on June 18, 2012.

The fourth charge relates to the transfer of US$60 million from Aabar Investment to Red Granite on Oct 23, 2012.

The fifth charge relates to the transfer of US$45 million from Aabar Investment to Red Granite on Nov 14, 2012.

Each charge, filed under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti Money-Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001, carries a punishment of maximum five years jail and/or maximum RM5 million fine.

Red Granite is one of four companies which produced the 2013 blockbuster film The Wolf of Wall Street.

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