Riza Aziz, co-founder of the production firm behind “The Wolf on Wall Street,” is contesting the feds’ attempt to seize several homes that he allegedly bought with funds embezzled from a Malaysian state fund.
The Justice Department seized multiple properties linked to Aziz last year, and is seeking forfeiture of the rights to the Martin Scorsese-directed film, according to the court documents cited by the Hollywood Reporter.
But Aziz, the stepson of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, is merely an “innocent owner” of the assets, according to his lawyer, Matthew Schwartz, who has filed a motion to dismiss several complaints against his client.
“Riza Aziz is neither alleged to have participated in any transactions involving 1MDB nor even to have knowledge of any transactions involving 1MDB — let alone knowledge of any supposed misappropriation,” the motion reads.
An 11,000-square-foot walled Beverly Hills mansion at 912 Hillcrest Road is among the properties at stake. Aziz purchased it for $17.5 million from Jho Low, a Malaysian businessman that has also been implicated in the scandal. [THR] — Cathaleen Chen