‘Wolf of Wall Street’ producer charged with 1MDB money laundering in Malaysia

Riza Aziz, producer of the Hollywood film "The Wolf of Wall Street and stepson of Malaysia's disgraced ex-leader Najib Razak, arrives for a court appearance at Duta court in Kuala Lumpur on July 5, 2019. (AFP / Mohd Rasfan)
Updated 05 July 2019

‘Wolf of Wall Street’ producer charged with 1MDB money laundering in Malaysia

  • Riza Aziz, a co-founder of Hollywood production firm Red Granite Pictures, is the stepson of former prime minister Najib Razak
  • He is accused of misappropriated $248 million linked to state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia on Friday charged one of the “Wolf of Wall Street” film producers, and stepson of former prime minister Najib Razak, with money laundering, alleging he misappropriated $248 million linked to state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
Riza Aziz, a co-founder of Hollywood production firm Red Granite Pictures that was behind the Oscar-nominated film “The Wolf of Wall Street,” was charged with five counts of money laundering.
Prosecutors alleged Riza received a total of $248 million as a result of misappropriation of 1MDB funds.
Riza pleaded not guilty to all the charges. Each charge carries a financial penalty of up to five million ringgit ($1.21 million), a maximum jail term of five years, or both.
The court granted Riza bail at one million ringgit and asked him to surrender his passports.
After unexpectedly losing an election to Mahathir Mohamad in May last year, Najib has been slapped with a series of corruption charges, mostly tied to losses at now-defunct 1MDB.
Najib, who founded 1MDB in 2009, faces 42 criminal charges related to huge losses at the fund and other state entities. He has pleaded not guilty and has consistently denied wrongdoing.
The US Justice Department has estimated that a total of $4.5 billion was misappropriated by high-level officials at 1MDB and their associates between 2009 and 2014.
1MDB is being investigated in at least six countries for alleged money laundering and graft.
US prosecutors have said Red Granite had financed three films using funds they suspect were stolen from 1MDB.
Red Granite paid the US government $60 million in September 2017 to settle a civil forfeiture claim over the rights to “The Wolf of Wall Street.”


Singapore confirms first case of Wuhan virus

Updated 23 January 2020

Singapore confirms first case of Wuhan virus

Singapore Thursday confirmed its first case of the new SARS-like virus which has killed 17 people in China and spread to multiple countries including the United States.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) said the patient was a 66-year-old man from Wuhan who arrived in Singapore with his family on Monday.
He was immediately isolated after arriving at a hospital with a fever and cough, and test results later confirmed he was infected with the coronavirus.
One of his traveling companions, a 37-year-old man from Wuhan, has also been admitted to hospital as a suspect case.
Prior to admission, they had stayed at a hotel on the resort island of Sentosa, the ministry said.
It added that Singapore was expecting more cases and alarms “given the high volume of international travel.”
Moreover, tourists leaving Bangkok for China said on Thursday they were worried about the spread of the Wuhan virus, ahead of more air and train travel in the lead-up to the Lunar New Year holidays.
China has placed Wuhan, a city of 11 million, on lockdown, as it is considered the epicenter of a new coronavirus outbreak that has killed 17 and infected nearly 600.
Thailand has so far confirmed four cases of coronavirus, the largest number outside China. Two of the cases were Chinese women who have since been allowed to return home. Chinese tourists make up the largest group of visitors to Thailand.
At Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport, masked visitors lined up as usual to check in for Southern China Airlines flights back to China.
AirAsia said on Thursday it has canceled direct flights between Wuhan and cities in Thailand and Malaysia until Jan 28.
Matt Thomas, who lives in the Chinese city of Xian, said he was worried about the new Chinese virus, especially because he once contracted swine flu which he described as “awful.”
“I’m a bit worried that it will repeat. I have just got to be safe. In these sorts of situations, you know, take everything seriously, don’t take any risks,” Thomas said.
Chinese health officials fear the transmission rate will accelerate, as hundreds of millions of Chinese travel at home and abroad during week-long holidays for the Lunar New Year.