PETALING JAYA: A new US civil suit based on anti-racketeering law is reported to have been brought against Prime Minister Najib Razak’s stepson Riza Shahriz Abdul Aziz, his film company Red Granite Pictures, businessman Low Taek Jho (better known as Jho Low), and a Goldman Sachs banker over funds alleged to have been stolen from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
The suit seeks damages for the theft of money from 1MDB and to recover property and other assets bought using the stolen funds.
The suit was brought by lawyer Matthias Chang, former political secretary to Dr Mahathir Mohamad, and former PAS vice-president Husam Musa, who was expelled from the party in May.
It was filed in the US District Court in New York on Tuesday, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Named as defendants were Red Granite Pictures which produced the movie Wolf of Wall Street, company co-founders Christopher Joey McFarland, Riza, and Penang-born Jho Low, who is said to be Riza’s friend.
The Goldman Sachs investment bank is also named, and so too is its former banker Timothy Leissner, who arranged several billion-dollar bonds for 1MDB.
Also named is Riza’s business manager Debra Whelan Johnson and her firm. They are accused of having managed his funds knowing it to have been misappropriated.
According to the court filing, Chang and Husam claimed the defendants knowingly used funds stolen from 1MDB for their personal benefit, including throwing parties for Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio to curry favour with him.
US Department of Justice (DoJ) had on July 20 said that more than US$3.5 billion was diverted from the 1MDBfund that Najib founded in 2009 shortly after coming to power.
The US civil suits are seeking to seize US$1 billion of the allegedly embezzled assets that were transferred into the United States using shell companies.
The DoJ also alleged offences were committed over a four-year period and involved multiple individuals, including Malaysian officials and their associates, who conspired to fraudulently divert billions of dollars from 1MDB.
It specifically named Riza, Jho Low, and Abu Dhabi government officials Khadem al-Qubaisi and Mohamed Ahmed Badawy Al-Husseiny.