Hollywood producer Riza Aziz arrested in Malaysia over 1MDB scandal

Hollywood producer Riza Aziz arrested in Malaysia over 1MDB scandal

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian producer of the Leonardo DiCaprio-starred film The Wolf Of Wall Street was arrested Thursday (Jul 4) on suspicion of money laundering as part of investigations into the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal, officials said.

Riza Aziz was detained in Malaysia at around noon after questioning by graft investigators and will appear in court on Friday to face charges, said Latheefa Koya, head of the anti-corruption agency.

READ: US begins return of US$200 million in 1MDB funds to Malaysia

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FILE PHOTO: Two of the producers of the film "The Wolf of Wall Street" arrive at the 25th
Riza Aziz stands with Joey McFarland, another producer of the film The Wolf Of Wall Street, as they arrive at the 25th Annual Producers Guild of America Awards in Beverly Hills, California Jan 19, 2014. (Photo: Reuters/Fred Prouser)

Riza is the stepson of Malaysia's disgraced ex-leader Najib Razak, and the son of the country's former first lady Rosmah Mansor. Both Najib and Rosmah have been charged over the plundering of state fund 1MDB.

"I confirm (Riza) has been arrested today and was released on bail," Latheefa told AFP, adding he would face charges under laws related to money laundering.

A second agency official, who spoke anonymously, also said the arrest was linked to investigations into 1MDB.

READ: Cash, items seized from Najib-linked premises worth around RM1.1 billion: Malaysia police

READ: Police report made over alleged attempt to 'hide' Rosmah's Birkin bag collection

FILE PHOTO - Producer Aziz, cast members DiCaprio, Robbie, Hill and producer McFarland arrive for U
FILE PHOTO - Producer Riza Aziz (L-R), cast members Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie, Jonah Hill and producer Joey McFarland arrive for the U.K. Premiere of "The Wolf of Wall Street" at Leicester Square, in London January 9, 2014. REUTERS/Paul Hackett

Billions of dollars were looted from the investment vehicle, allegedly by Najib and his cronies, and spent on everything from yachts to pricey artwork in a globe-spanning fraud.

Riza co-founded the Hollywood company Red Granite Pictures, and US officials allege that it was bankrolled by huge sums of pilfered 1MDB cash.

As well as The Wolf Of Wall Street - a 2013 film about a massive stock market scam that netted its perpetrator millions of dollars - it produced the Jim Carrey movie Dumb And Dumber To and Daddy's Home, starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg.

In May, about US$57 million forfeited by Red Granite was returned to Malaysia and put into an account set up to recover money looted from 1MDB.

The 1MDB scandal played a major role in Najib's election loss last year.

Malaysia's new government has re-opened probes into 1MDB, and Najib went on trial in April over the allegations.

The US Department of Justice, which is seeking to seize assets bought with 1MDB money in the US, believes around US$4.5 billion was looted from the fund.

Source: Agencies/zl(hs)