Riza Aziz forfeits US$60 mil in property, assets as part of 1MDB deal

Hollywood producer Riza Aziz was granted a discharge not amounting to an acquittal by the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court in May.

PETALING JAYA: Hollywood producer Riza Aziz has dropped his claims to US$60 million worth of luxury real estate and other assets seized by US authorities in 2016 and 2017 as part of its investigation into the 1MDB scandal.

Riza, 44, the stepson of former prime minister Najib Razak, had faced five money laundering charges involving US$248 million in Malaysia, but those charges were dropped in exchange for the return of assets worth US$107 million.

The son of Rosmah Mansor was granted a discharge not amounting to an acquittal by the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court in May.

US prosecutors believe at least US$4.5 billion was looted from 1MDB in a scheme orchestrated by fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low.

They said the funds were used to buy luxury property, a yacht and artwork and to throw expensive parties.

Under agreements filed in court in the US yesterday, Riza dropped his claims to US$60 million worth of real estate and other assets, including a lithograph poster for the 1927 film “Metropolis”, the Variety news portal reported.

Variety said Riza, the co-founder of Red Granite Pictures and producer of “The Wolf of Wall Street”, gave up his claim to three lavish properties – the “Pyramid House” in Beverly Hills, a penthouse duplex in the Park Laurel tower in Manhattan, and a townhouse in London.

It said he also forfeited any claim to US$28 million held in a Huntington National bank account and the “Metropolis” poster.

The report said the seized assets included the proceeds from the sale of a Kentucky maintenance company in which Riza had an interest.

Riza does not admit to any wrongdoing under the agreements.

Variety said that according to a court stipulation, the seized funds will be “used for the benefit of the people of Malaysia after deduction of the government’s associated costs”.

It quoted prosecutors as saying the US government has now assisted in the recovery of US$1.1 billion in embezzled 1MDB assets.