High Court declines to hear review of Riza’s discharge

KUALA LUMPUR: A High Court judge has declined to hear a lawyer’s application to review the discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) given to Hollywood producer Riza Aziz over money laundering charges totalling US$248 million (RM1.08 billion).

Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan however offered no reason for why he did not want to hear the application.

FMT understands that a court registrar sent a letter via email yesterday evening informing lawyer Shaharudin Ali about the decision.

“There will not be a review of Riza’s matter before a High Court judge,” the court official said, adding that Shaharudin’s letter seeking a review had been sent to Zaini on Wednesday evening.

FMT is awaiting a response from Shaharudin.

The lawyer in his letter focused on the application of Section 254 of the Criminal Procedure Code and whether a lower court judge had correctly exercised his discretion.

Lawyer A Srimurugan said the judge was not obliged to give a reason for his decision.

“But according to the facts of Riza’s case, the accused was only given a DNNA provided that he fulfilled his side of the agreement, failing which the prosecution could charge him for the same offence,” he said.

On May 14, Sessions Court judge Azman Ahmad allowed the application after ad hoc prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram told the court that Putrajaya would receive a substantial sum from Riza, running into several million ringgit.

He said steps would be taken to ensure that Riza, who is the stepson of ex-prime minister Najib Razak, would only be given a full acquittal upon satisfactory completion of the agreement.

News of Riza’s DNAA gave rise to a public debate over whether Attorney-General Idrus Harun had used his discretion judiciously as well as the role played by former attorney-general Tommy Thomas.

Riza claimed trial in July last year to five charges involving funds allegedly received from Good Star Ltd and Aabar Investments PJS Ltd, companies said to be linked to fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho.

Riza, who is the son of Rosmah Mansor, was accused of receiving the money between April 2011 and November 2012 at City National Bank in Los Angeles, California, as well as at BSI Bank at Temasek Boulevard in Singapore.

The offence under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act carries a jail term of up to five years and a maximum fine of RM5 million or five times the amount of the proceeds, whichever is higher.

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