PETALING JAYA: The prime minister’s stepson, Riza Aziz, and millionaire Low Taek Jho (Jho Low), named as defendants in the lawsuit brought by the US Department of Justice (DoJ), will be called to defend themselves on Aug 22, according to lawyer Zainur Zakaria.
Zainur said Riza and Low, as well as several others named in the DoJ document, may challenge the United States’ claim on their assets.
“If they do not appear in court, the court will make an order to enable the US Government to seize the assets.
“Should they appear, however, they can challenge it,” Zainur said when contacted by FMT.
Zainur is the counsel for former political secretary to Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Matthias Chang, and former PAS Vice-President Husam Musa in their suit against Riza, Low and Goldman Sachs.
Their class action seeks custodianship of the US$1 billion worth of assets the DoJ claims has been stolen from 1MDB, lending their names as trustees for the assets and proceeds to be returned to Malaysia should DoJ be successful in its efforts.
Zainur said he was not confident the duo would appear in court.
“Rigorous investigations on the claims are being carried out by the FBI.
“I do not think the US Attorney-General would have filed these claims if there was insufficient evidence because their country’s pride is at stake,” Zainur said.
The DoJ has filed claims to seize assets worth USD$1 billion (RM4 billion) related to 1MDB.
The assets are part of the USD$3.5 billion alleged to have been misappropriated. It consists of lavish properties, art pieces, personal jets and the earnings from Hollywood film “The Wolf of Wall Street” produced by Riza’s company, Red Granite.
Zainur said Husam and Matthias have the locus standi to file claims against the individuals accused of misappropriating 1MDB funds.
“The money that they took went through transactions in American banks. Not only were bank affairs handled in the US, many of their assets were also there.
“As such, the American courts have jurisdiction over the matter, because the assets were executed or placed in America.”