International Asia Anger after Malaysia drops 'Wolf of Wall Street' charges

Anger after Malaysia drops ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ charges

Last week, Malaysian prosecutors unexpectedly dropped the charges against Riza after he agreed to a deal that will see him return about $107 million in assets to Malaysia. Officials insist Riza can still be prosecuted if he does not honour the agreement.

Author

Date

Category

- Advertisement -

A deal to drop money-laundering charges linked to the scandal against a producer of Hollywood hit “Wolf of Wall Street” is terrible for Malaysia, the country’s former attorney-general said Monday.

Riza Aziz, who is also the stepson of the country’s disgraced ex-leader Razak, was charged last year for allegedly receiving nearly $250 million from Malaysian sovereign wealth fund .

Billions of dollars were looted from the fund and spent on everything from a yacht to art in a huge fraud that purportedly involved Najib and his cronies.

But last week, Malaysian prosecutors unexpectedly dropped the charges against Riza after he agreed to a deal that will see him return about $107 million in assets to Malaysia. Officials insist Riza can still be prosecuted if he does not honour the agreement.

- Advertisement -

Many were angered he had avoided a jail term, however, and political rivals have suggested the move was linked to Najib’s party returning to power following a political upheaval earlier this year.

Malaysia’s former attorney-general Tommy Thomas, who had taken the decision to prosecute the film producer, said the agreement was a “sweetheart deal for Riza but terrible for Malaysia”.

The US Department of Justice, which has been helping the Southeast Asian country claw back looted funds, “would have returned these monies in any event because it belongs to Malaysia and was stolen from Malaysia”, he said in a statement.

His successor has insisted Thomas agreed to dropping the charges “in principle” — but he rubbished this as “a fiction”.

“I would have never sanctioned this deal,” he said.

Mahathir Mohamad, a leading opposition politician who was prime minister until his government collapsed in February, noted Riza would return less than half the amount he was accused of receiving from 1MDB.

“This has never happened in Malaysia but is happening now — and many thieves are waiting to go to court to return half of their haul and secure freedom,” the 94-year-old told a press conference.

Riza had been accused of receiving $248.17 million in 2011 and 2012 in illegal proceeds that came from 1MDB.

The money was sent to bank accounts of Hollywood production company Red Granite Pictures, which Riza co-founded.

Aside from “”, which was about a huge financial scam and starred Leonardo DiCaprio, Red Granite also produced the Jim Carrey movie “Dumb and Dumber To” and “Daddy’s Home”.

Najib was voted out of power in 2018 in large part due to public anger at the 1MDB scandal, and has since been put on trial over the mammoth fraud. He denies any wrongdoing.

But the alliance that ousted the scandal-mired leader, headed by Mahathir, collapsed amid intense infighting, paving the way for Najib’s party to return as part of a coalition.

sr-jsm/je

© Agence France-Presse

/AFP

Please follow and like us:
Tweet
Share
- Advertisement -

K Shanmugam: In Singapore, the right to speak freely goes with the duty to act responsibly

Singapore—Speaking at the 16th Religious Rehabilitation Group Seminar at Khadijah Mosque on Monday (Nov 24), K Shanmugam, the Minister for Law and Home Affairs, said that the threat of terrorism has not gone away though its “shape and nature” have changed. Citing...

Parliament receives 61 NMP proposal forms from the general public, groups

The Office of the Clerk of Parliament said yesterday (24 Nov) that Parliament has received 61 Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) proposal forms. This is higher than the 48, 41 and 36 proposal forms that Parliament received in 2018, 2016 and...

No state acknowledgement for former President Yusof Ishak on his 50th death anniversary

Although 23 November 2020 marked half a century since Singapore's first President Yusof Ishak passed away, there was no state acknowledgement to commemorate the former President's 50th death anniversary. Neither current President Halimah Yacob, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong nor any other...
Please follow and like us:
Tweet
Share
Follow Me
Tweet