Thursday, May 19, 2016

Stepson of Malaysia’s Najib Razak buys $34-mln London house

The stepson of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak bought a £23.25 million ($33.6 million) house in central London in 2012 with money originating from the troubled Malaysian state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd.
The redbrick four-story house, built around 1900, is part of a row set back from the road and protected by security gates, a short walk from Malaysia’s diplomatic mission in London’s exclusive Belgravia neighborhood. The registered owner of the house is Qentas Holdings Ltd., a company based in the British Virgin Islands. Najib’s stepson is the beneficial owner, the people familiar said.
Investigators believe that money from the Malaysian fund known as 1MDB was used to buy the house in July 2012.
A spokesman said last week that Aziz’s film company, Red Granite Pictures, “is responding to all inquiries and cooperating fully.”
“There has never been anything inappropriate about any of Red Granite Pictures or Riza Aziz’s business activities,” the spokesman said. “What they have done and will continue to do is develop and produce successful and acclaimed movies that have generated more than $825 million in world-wide box-office revenues.”
Money used to buy the properties in London and the U.S. was part of at least $238 million that was transferred to an offshore company owned by Aziz called Red Granite Capital from another offshore company set up to resemble an Abu Dhabi company 1MDB did business with, investigators believe, according to people familiar with the matter.
The offshore company, Aabar Investments PJS Ltd., received more than $3.5 billion from 1MDB over several years. It has a similar name to Aabar Investments PJS in Abu Dhabi, which is owned by one of the Emirate’s sovereign-wealth funds called International Petroleum Investment Co. IPIC has said in a filing to the London Stock Exchange that the Aabar in the British Virgin Islands that transferred money to Red Granite Capital isn’t part of its corporate structure.
A $133 million tranche of the money was received by Red Granite Capital in June 2012, according to documents reviewed by the Journal. The London property was acquired a month later without a mortgage, according to the U.K. Land Registry.
Aziz has denied wrongdoing, as has Najib.

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