Najib sought help from UAE Crown Prince to save his stepson Riza from prosecution for money laundering

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Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Crown Prince of United Arab Emirates (UAE) Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan- Photo Credit: Reuters

Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission has revealed two recorded phone calls between Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Crown Prince of United Arab Emirates (UAE) Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan regarding 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) corruption case and money-laundering in the United States.

In the two phone calls that were recorded on July 22, 2016, Najib Razak asked bin Zayed to transfer funds in favor of Riza Aziz (Najib`s stepson) who owned a Hollywood Film Production Company in New York, to protect him from prosecution in the United States on charges of money laundering related to the Sovereign Fund 1 Malaysia development (1MDB).

The recording of the second call shows that Bin Zayed agreed to make loan agreement or fund Riza`s film production through direct transfers from him or through the Al-Abrar Company headed by Mansour bin Zayed, brother of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

Al-Abrar’s name appeared more than once in the Malaysian investigations into the case of the sovereign fund, in addition to Emirati and Saudi companies.

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Riza Aziiz (right)- Pic Credit: The Star

Najib asked UAE Crown Prince to fabricate a loan or fund agreement to clear the name of his stepson, Riza Aziz.

“I need that agreement to be sorted out quickly, Your Highness. That is my special request. As soon as possible,” Najib told Bin on the recorded phone call.

This conversation between Najib Razak and the UAE Crown Prince was recorded in an audio tape in 2016 and revealed to the media and public amongst nine other recorded telephone conversations between other high ranking officials ( including Najib`s wife Rosmah Mansor) allegedly linked to the 1MDB scandal.

According to reports, Najib Razak had called Crown Prince of United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the night of July 22, 2016, two days after the US Department of Justice (DoJ) filed a complaint to seize assets worth more than US$1 billion linked to money stolen from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

When contacted by the media, Najib did not deny the authenticity of the audio recordings.

In October 2018, in an interview with Aljazeera,  Malaysia former Prime Minister said the Crown prince of United Arab Emirates (UAE) Mohammed Zayed was the funder for his stepson Riza Aziz’s movie studio Red Granite.

“Crown prince Mohammed Bin Zayed told him in my presence that he was going to invest in his movies. We assumed that whatever investment that is going to come from Abu Dhabi to fund it would be a loan ” he said.

MACC’s Chief, Latheefa Koya said: “There are various issues that arise, including abuse of power, criminal conspiracy, obstruction of justice, compromising of national security, and fabrication of false evidence through foreign aide.”

Based on the recording, analysts said Najib was seeking help from Crown to fabricate a fund agreement to clear his stepson`s name.

In the US DoJ filing, Riza has allegedly laundered millions of money originating from 1MDB to fund his production house Red Granite Pictures.

However, it seems that Najib`s request from the Crown Prince was not materialized and Riza was charged in the Court for money laundering.

The son of Najib’s wife Rosmah Mansor, Riza was charged in Kuala Lumpur court on 6 July 2019 with illegally receiving almost US$250 million from the 1MDB state fund. He pleaded not guilty to five charges related to money laundering.

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has estimated that a total of US$4.5 billion was misappropriated by high-level officials at 1MDB and their associates between 2009 and 2014.

On August 2018, Malaysia’s anti-corruption agency has also charged the former prime minister Najib Razak for money laundering, abuse of power, and criminal breach of trust to which he pleaded not guilty.

Here are the recorded Conversations between Najib and the Crown Prince:

Crown Prince: Mr prime minister, how are you and how is your family there?

Najib: I’m delighted to speak to you and of course we are experiencing dark cloud, by the announcement of DoJ. That’s why your Highness it is important for us to resolve this to the impasse with the 1MDB soon. It is embarrassing us, Malaysia and the UAE as well as personalities close to you. I wish we can find a solution as soon as possible. Difficult to talk over the phone, possible to meet as soon as possible?

Crown Prince: It’s fine by me but I will be travelling for medical check-up for five days. I can get someone to come to you and talk about it.

Second Conversation between Najib and the Crown Prince:

Crown Prince: Mr prime minister I’m sorry I was late. I’ve consulted with my guys and I really don’t want to push this anymore. This is of mutual interest. I don’t think you should fly over, people will know about it. I will tell my person to come there. He is in California, I will call him now and he can come.

Najib: (Sounding stressed) Your highness I have a personal request. My son Riza Aziz, related to his movie production in America if there can be an agreement with Sheikh Mansour signed, so that it can show it was legitimate instead of money laundering. At the moment he’s under pressure in America. I’m worried if they make him a scapegoat.

Graduate with a Master of Mass Communication. 10 years working experience in the media and broadcasting.

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