KUALA LUMPUR : Hollywood film producer, Riza Shahriz Abdul Aziz, and his two companies have claimed to have obtained a loan from the Saudi royal family or the International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) and not from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) funds, to produce several films in the United States.
IPIC is a company founded in Abu Dhabi whose managing director at the time was Khadem Abdullah Al-Qubaisi, who was a former aide to Sheikh Mansour Zayed Al Nahyan, the Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and also a member of the royal family.
The matter was stated in the defence statement filed by Riza Shahriz, Red Granite Pictures Incorporated and Red Granite Capital Limited, as defendants, through Messrs Scivetti & Associates on October 25.
Based on the defence statement, Riza Shahriz claimed that it was difficult for an unknown film producer to obtain loans from banks, which was why he decided to obtain loans from individuals or companies.
Riza Shahriz also claimed that he was then introduced to Prince Saud Abdulaziz bin Majed bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (Prince Saud) and Prince Faisal bin Turki bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (Prince Faisal) from the Saudi royal family, who showed interest in lending him money for the purpose of film production by Red Granite Pictures Incorporated.
“I was informed that representatives of the Saudi royal family have agreed to provide the loan.
“The loan would be disbursed by a company known as Alsen Chance Holdings Limited, which is a company beneficially owned by the Saudi Arabian royal family. In this regard, I entered a loan agreement with Alsen Chance,” he said.
Riza Shahriz claimed that, after signing the agreement, he received money amounting to US$1,173,104 and US$9,000,000 and the money was utilised to finance two companies, including the setting up and operating a production house, buying rights of scripts, books and producing films.
The stepson of former prime minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, also claimed that he had discharged his obligation under the Alsen Chance loan agreement by October 31, 2021, whereby he had repaid Alsen Chance in full, together with interest.
“At that time, Alsen Chance has no nexus or connection with the plaintiffs (1MDB, 1MDB Energy Holdings Limited, 1MDB Energy Limited and 1MDB Energy (Langat) Limited) and as such, there was no reason for the defendants to suspect the source of the funds,” claimed Riza Shahriz.
On the transfer of US$238 million to Red Granite Capital, Riza Shahriz claimed that the money was used to finance the business of the two companies, including the operational cost of a production house, buying rights of scripts, books and producing films.
Meanwhile, lawyer, Datuk Hariharan Tara Singh, representing Riza Shahriz and his two companies as the defendants, when contacted by reporters, said that during the case management before High Court deputy registrar, Syeela Marlina Uttaman, held online today, the court set December 6 for further case management.
He said that all the defendants had filed statements of defence.
1MDB and its three subsidiaries, namely, 1MDB Energy Holdings Limited, 1MDB Energy Limited and 1MDB Energy (Langat) Limited as the plaintiffs, filed the writ of summons on May 7 through Messrs Shearn Delamore & Co, naming Riza Shahriz and two of his companies, Red Granite Pictures Incorporated and Red Granite Capital Limited, as the first, second and third defendants respectively.
The companies also named New York-based law firm, Shearman and Sterling, as the fourth defendant.
The companies, in their writ of summons, said that in 2011 and 2012, Riza Shahriz and his two companies received approximately US$250 million in funds from 1MDB and its three subsidiaries, which were allegedly misappropriated for their personal benefit and for the benefit of their associates, including for financing movie productions and purchasing various real estate.
The companies claimed that Riza Shahriz, who controlled the two Red Granite companies, ought to have known that the monies that originated from 1MDB were misappropriated to them for their benefit.
Hence, the plaintiffs are seeking a declaration that Riza Shahriz is liable to account for the misappropriated funds and unjust use of the funds, and are also seeking the repayment of the misappropriated funds.
BERNAMA / MALAY MAIL