Money laundering charges against The Wolf Of Wall Street producer Riza Aziz have been dropped by a Malaysian court, in exchange for the return of overseas assets, reportedly worth $107.3M. Aziz is the founder and CEO of Red Granite Pictures and had initially been arrested in July last year over his alleged role in dodgy financing deals linked to the 2013 Hollywood hit. He is also the stepson of former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak who was previously arrested.
Per local reports today, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission said that the dropping of charges against Aziz does not amount to an acquittal and that they could resurface if he does not honor the terms. Last July, he had been charged with money laundering involving $248M linked to the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and had pleaded not guilty.
Under the agreement, Aziz “is required to pay a compound to the government under Section 92 of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, which is punitive as an alternative to the charges that have been brought against him,” a statement from the Anti-Corruption Commission reportedly said.
In 2018, a government task force said Najib’s arrest was connected to a suspicious multi-million-dollar transfer into his bank account from SRC International, a former subsidiary of 1MDB which is the fund U.S. investigators have previously alleged was used to siphon hundreds of millions of dollars into private investments for Najib and his family including the funding of the Martin Scorsese movie and other films on the Red Granite slate. Following the stateside investigation, Red Granite in 2018 agreed to pay back $60M to the U.S. government but denied any intentional wrongdoing.
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