Rosmah’s movie mogul son, Riza Aziz, has become a prime target for questioning in the United States by official investigators, now that the money trail from 1MDB points straight at his company Red Granite Pictures.
The Luxembourg prosecutor has announced as much in his thinly veiled recent statement.
The PM’s step-son has spent hundreds of millions on movies, having arrived in Hollywood out of the blue in 2010. At least a hundred million of that came directly from the bogus IPIC subsidiary Aabar Investments PJS Limited (BVI), it has been ascertained.
That company in turn received billions from the Malaysian development fund 1MDB, under the guise of paying for bond guarantees by IPIC.
IPIC have now confirmed the fraud and said it did not receive the payments. On Tuesday 1MDB went into default on many of its debts (totalling over US$6 billion) after IPIC therefore refused to continue to honour the guarantee and after 1MDB proved unable to pick up a US$50 million payment due over a week before.
It was back in December 2013 that Sarawak Report first started questioning the extravagant spending of the Prime Minister’s step son, who appeared to have an inexhaustible budget to finance controversial films like the Wolf of Wall Street, which other production giants had passed over.
We were met with an aggressive response from Riza’s lawyers, who also attacked our reporting on Riza’s lavish lifestyle and new Beverley Hills mansion, which we said that his youth and business record did not explain.
The US authorities will now inevitably be pressing to ask the same questions of Mr Aziz and more. They will also be doubtless wishing to speak to his personal wealth manager Debra Johnson, who is the wife of the senior partner of the legal firm Loeb & Loeb, who were hired to threaten Sarawak Report.
Debra Johnson lost her position at the finance company NKFSB after our exposures, but moved straight into her own business with Riza Aziz as her top client.
However, Riza has appeared impervious over the past year to any storm-clouds which might be gathering.
As Sarawak Report can disclose, he has continued to splash cash around Hollywood, particularly when it comes to currying favour with celebrity friends like Leonardo Dicaprio.
Dicaprio has absorbed a great deal of Jho Low and Riza Aziz’s money, in burnishing his own reputation as a ‘warrior for the environment’, as well as fully enjoying their lavish hospitality on yacht parties across the globe, gambling in Vegas, World Cup extravaganzas, ski parties and the like.
Indeed just last week Riza publicly donated a whopping $2.1 million US dollars to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), just days after it was revealed that Wolf of Wall Street ‘financier’, none other than Aabar’s CEO Mohamad Ahmed Badawy al-Husseiny, had been placed under house arrest in Abu Dhabi, with the United States requesting for his extradition to aid with their investigations into the scandal-ridden fund.
Dicaprio is on the Board of the Museum.
According to the US website ArtNet News:
Wolf of Wall Street producer Riza Aziz ponied up $1.1 million to go along with the $1 million he’d already pledged. LACMA director Michael Govan revealed that Aziz was to have hosted a dinner the night before, but had been held up in Europe—the $1.1 million was a mea culpa.
Riza’s injection of cash allowed the museum to purchase a huge collection of rare movie posters from long-time collector Mike Kaplan, it was explained.
This isn’t the first time that Riza has supported LACMA. Research undertaken by Sarawak Report reveals that he is known as an “avid collector” of film posters and has “generously” supported the institution over the past years.
In 2014, he co-sponsored an exhibition alongside his party-pal Leonardo Dicaprio. Aziz also lent rare posters to the exhibition, which celebrated the artwork of German Expressionist Cinema.
“This gift connects LACMA‘s Art+Film initiative to an effort across departments to build a great collection of graphic design. Riza Aziz has been a dedicated supporter of Art+Film at LACMA” said LACMA Director Michael Govan.
A review of the LACMA website states that the exhibition was “generously supported” by both Riza Aziz and the Leonardo Dicaprio Foundation, but just how much financial support was given remains unclear.
In 2015, Riza donated a “major gift” of nine “extremely rare” Russian avant-garde film posters from the 1920’s to the LACMA museum. The glitzy event was hosted by none other than Leonardo Dicaprio.
The gift launches an effort led by Aziz and collector and poster expert Ralph DeLuca to build high-level support for LACMA’s interdepartmental graphic design initiative. Included among the remarkable and extremely rare posters in this gift are seven examples by Vladimir and Georgii Stenberg, leading Constructivist artists universally considered innovators in the design of avant-garde film posters; an iconic Battleship Potemkin poster by Anton Lavinsky, one of the best-known designs of the period, which has inspired a number of contemporary designers; and works by Alexander Naumov and Yakov Ruklevsky.
Readers of this blog will be aware of 1MDB orchestrator Jho Low’s own contributions to the Leonardo Dicaprio Foundation. In San Tropez in August 2015, Jho Low supplied a fabulously expensive Lichtenstein sculpture for an eco-charity auction run by Dicaprio.
The former party-boy cum “philanthropist” also hosted numerous lavish parties for the actor, including sponsoring an ostentatious new years celebration that included celebrating in Sydney before flying out to Las Vegas to break the year in for a second time.
LACMA appear to be the latest institution to be roped into the 1MDB debacle. Surely they should have performed due diligence before accepting money from a politically exposed person such as Riza Aziz? Sarawak Report suggests readers direct their questions straight to the museum.
We send out the latest story at 7am Malaysia time