Riza Aziz fails bid to transfer 1MDB-related case to High Court

Riza Aziz fails bid to transfer 1MDB-related case to High Court

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here today dismissed the application by former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s stepson, Riza Aziz, to transfer his US$248 million money laundering case related to 1MDB funds to the higher court.

Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali said the Sessions Court judge tasked to hear Riza’s case was competent and experienced to deal with questions of law under the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act and other legislation.

“It is not expedient in the ends of justice if a transfer does not promote judicial efficiency and causes a delay in the commencement of trial,” he said.

Sessions Court had set Jan 6 to hear Riza’s case.

Prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, who objected to Riza’s application, said the case was a simple one and that the Sessions Court judge was competent enough to hear the trial.

“She has over 10 years’ experience and is a senior judge. Besides that, the prosecution needs to prove that the accused person received money through illegal means,” he said.

Riza’s lawyers, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and Hariharan Tara Singh, meanwhile, said the movie producer’s money laundering case involved overseas transactions.

They added that questions of law on the admissibility of foreign documents may arise.

Riza faces five charges of money laundering amounting to US$248 million.

He was accused of receiving funds from Good Star Ltd and Aabar Investments PJS Ltd, companies said to be linked to fugitive businessman, Low Taek Jho.

The alleged offence took place between April 2011 and Nov 2012 at City National Bank in Los Angeles, California as well as BSI Bank at Temasek Boulevard in Singapore.

If found guilty under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act, Riza could face jail of up to five years and a maximum fine of RM5 million or five times the amount of the proceeds, whichever is higher.

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