The Wolf of Wall Street Producer Riza Aziz Faces up to 25 Years in Prison on Charges of Money LaunderingPhoto by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Movies News Wolf of Wall Street
According to the charges, Aziz allegedly received $248 million illicitly from 1Malaysia Development Bhd, or 1MDB. 1MDB is the investment fund founded by Aziz’s stepfather Najib Razak, who also happens to be the disgraced former prime minister of Malaysia.
Aziz allegedly used the funds to purchase luxury real estate in London, Los Angeles and New York. The producer also allegedly used some of the money to fund his film company, Red Granite Pictures. According to U.S. investigators, the stolen 1MDB money used by the company helped fund two big-budget films, Dumb and Dumber To and The Wolf of Wall Street. To combat the scandal, Red Granite paid a whopping $60 million to settle any claims related to it. That’s a whole lot of fun coupons.
The fives charges against Aziz each carry a five-year prison sentence, totaling 25 years, and a fine of 5 million Malaysian ringgit, or $1.2 million. Alongside Aziz, Razak and his wife, Aziz’s mother Rosmah Mansor, are facing multiple counts of money laundering and corruption. Otherwise, Aziz’s friend and the alleged mastermind behind the 1MDB scandal, Jho Low, is suspected to be hiding out in China. Low is currently wanted by the authorities in Malaysia, U.S. and Singapore on a multitude of charges. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the 1MDB scandal resulted in a hefty $4.5 billion stolen from Razak, Low, Aziz, and their conspirators in Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Aziz was originally questioned about the charges in July, but was arrested Thursday and officially charged on Friday. In court, Aziz pleaded “not guilty” and requested trial on all five counts. His bail was set at RM1 million, or $240,000, and Aziz is expected back in court on Aug. 9.