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Thursday, May 19, 2016

WSJ: Riza’s 23 million pounds London house under US probe

United States investigators are looking at another luxury property purchased by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s stepson, Riza Aziz, this time a house in central London purchased at a price of 23 million pounds sterling, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The US daily earlier reported that the US Federal Bureau of Investigations was looking into Riza’s multi-million dollar properties in New York and Beverly Hills, as part of its investigations into 1MDB.

The London property - a redbrick four-storey house built in the 1900s, is also suspected to have been purchased with funds originating from 1MDB, those familiar with the investigations told WSJ.

The property is reportedly part of row protected by security gates, and a “short walk” from the Malaysian High Commission premises in the Belgravia neighbourhood.

It is reportedly registered with Qentas Holdings Ltd, a British Virgin Islands (BVI) firm, but Riza is the beneficial owner of the property, WSJ reported.

The London, New York and Beverly Hills properties were bought using funds from Red Granite Capital - an offshore firm owned by Riza, WSJ reported.

Documents viewed by the WSJ showed that Red Granite Capital received a US$133 million tranche in June 2012.

Malaysiakini has contacted Riza on this matter, via his Hollywood production firm Red Granite Pictures, and is awaiting his response.

Red Granite Capital was earlier reported to have received US$238 million from Aabar Investment PJS Ltd -  the same firm which received US$3.5 billion from 1MDB.

1MDB said it transferred US$3.5 billion to BVI-registered Aabar, believing the firm is a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Corporation -  a firm that has guaranteed 1MDB’s bonds.

IPIC denies any link with the BVI-registered firm, resulting in 1MDB’s default of its bond interest payment. 1MDB said it might have been defrauded in this and is working towards a resolution.

WSJ earlier reported that US$50 million from 1MDB went to to make the blockbuster ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’, which was produced by Red Granite.

Red Granite said all its funding is legitimate and it is cooperating with the investigators.

Najib has denied any wrongdoing.

Najib was in London earlier this week to promote Malaysia as an investment destination.

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