Riza Aziz given discharge not amounting to acquittal for money laundering

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The Sessions Court here today granted a discharge not amounting to an acquittal to Hollywood producer Riza Aziz, who had been charged with five counts of money laundering amounting to US$248 million.

Judge Azman Ahmad allowed the application after ad hoc prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram told the court this would be subject to the accused fulfilling his side of the bargain.

“An agreement has been arrived at between the prosecution and the accused under the terms of which the federal government will receive a substantial sum running into several million ringgit,” he said, reading from a prepared statement.

Sri Ram also said the sums had a direct reference to the subject matter of the charges framed.

In light of the agreement, he said, the charges against Riza would not continue for the time being pending completion of the deal

“The prosecution, with the consent of the accused, now respectfully moves the court for an order of discharge not amounting to an acquittal.”

The court also allowed the return of the RM1 million posted by Riza’s two bailors.

Sri Ram, who was assisted by deputy public prosecutors Ahmad Akram Gharib and Wan Shahruddin Wan Ladin, said steps would be taken to ensure that Riza was given a full acquittal upon satisfactory completion of the agreement.

“But if there is no satisfactory completion of the agreement, the prosecution reserves the right to reinstate the charges and prosecute the accused to the full limit of the law,” he added.

He said since the charges were filed against Riza last year, the producer had made several representations through his lawyers which had been carefully considered.

Riza, represented by Hariharan Tara Singh and Tania Scivetti, made representations last year for a review of the charges.

He claimed trial in July 2019 to the money laundering charges allegedly involving funds received from Good Star Ltd and Aabar Investments PJS Ltd.

The two companies were said to be linked to fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho.

Riza, who is the son of Rosmah Mansor, was accused of receiving the money between April 2011 and November 2012 at City National Bank in Los Angeles, California, as well as at BSI Bank at Temasek Boulevard in Singapore.

The offence under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act carries a jail term of up to five years and a maximum fine of RM5 million or five times the amount of the proceeds, whichever is higher.

FMT

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