- Malaysia state fund 1MDB under global probes over finances
- Riza Aziz also bought houses in U.S. with funds, WSJ says
The stepson of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak allegedly used funds originating from a troubled state investment company to buy a house in central London in 2012, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
Riza Aziz spent 23.25 million pounds ($34 million) on the property located in London’s exclusive Belgravia neighborhood, the paper said, citing people it didn’t identify. The registered owner of the house is Qentas Holdings Ltd., a company based in the British Virgin Islands of which Riza is the beneficial owner, it said.
Investigators believed the money used by Riza to buy the U.K. house, $50 million worth of properties in New York and Los Angeles and to finance the 2013 movie “The Wolf of Wall Street” was diverted from 1Malaysia Development Bhd., according to the report.
The Kuala Lumpur-based fund, whose advisory board has been headed by Najib, is embroiled in multiple global probes related to allegations of money laundering and embezzlement. It missed interest payments on two bonds in the past month amid a dispute with Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund. Both Najib and 1MDB have denied wrongdoing.
1MDB has nothing to add to earlier statements, the fund said Thursday in response to queries from Bloomberg. Red Granite Pictures, a company partly owned by Riza, told Bloomberg this month it’s cooperating with inquiries amid a report it indirectly obtained funds from 1MDB. The company said it’s confident all money it received had been proper, and that "it will be clear that neither Riza Aziz nor Red Granite has done anything wrong," according to an e-mailed reply to queries by Bloomberg News.
The Hollywood production company and Najib’s office didn’t immediately reply to e-mails seeking comment.