I had nothing to do with Riza discharge, says Muhyiddin

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s office says the court decision was based on an arrangement struck between Riza Aziz and the prosecution.

PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has stressed that he was not involved in the discharge granted to Riza Aziz, the son of Rosmah Mansor who was charged with money laundering.

In a statement, the Prime Minister’s Office said the decision made on the discharge not amounting to acquittal (DNAA) was a result of an agreement struck between the prosecution and the accused through representation submitted to the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC).

“The prime minister repeats his stand against interfering in the AGC and judiciary’s matters in making decisions on any criminal case in the country including high-profile cases,” the PMO said.

Riza, who had been charged with five counts of money laundering amounting to US$248 million (RM1.08 billion), was granted a DNAA by the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court last week.

Judge Azman Ahmad made the decision after ad hoc prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram told the court this would be subject to the accused fulfilling his side of the bargain.

Under the arrangement, Putrajaya is expected to recover US$107.3 million (RM467 million) in assets from the Hollywood producer.

Riza had claimed trial in July 2019 to money laundering charges allegedly involving funds received from Good Star Ltd and Aabar Investments PJS Ltd, two companies said to be linked to fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low.

Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had criticised the outcome of the case, saying it could set a precedent where those who have stolen money can escape punishment by returning it.

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