Riza Aziz fails to transfer money laundering case to High Court

Riza Aziz.

KUALA LUMPUR: Hollywood film producer Riza Aziz today failed in his bid to transfer his US$248 million money laundering case from the Sessions Court to the High Court.

High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali said the Sessions Court judge assigned to hear Riza’s trial was competent and had enough experience to deal with questions of law under the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act and other legislation.

Fiat prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram, who objected to Riza’s application, said the case was a simple one and that the Sessions Court judge was competent enough to hear the trial.

“She has over 10 years’ experience and is a senior judge. Besides that, the prosecution needs to prove that the accused person received money through illegal means,” he said.

Riza’s lawyers Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and Hariharan Tara Singh meanwhile said the producer’s money laundering case involved overseas transactions. They added that questions of law on the admissibility of foreign documents may arise.

Riza, the son of former prime minister Najib Razak’s wife, Rosmah Mansor, faces five charges of money laundering amounting to US$248 million.

He was accused of receiving funds from Good Star Ltd and Aabar Investments PJS Ltd, companies said to be linked to fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho.

The alleged offence took place between April 2011 and Nov 2012 at City National Bank in Los Angeles, California as well as BSI Bank at Temasek Boulevard in Singapore.

If found guilty under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act, Riza could face jail of up to five years and a maximum fine of RM5 million or five times the amount of the proceeds, whichever is higher.