The 36-year-old stepson of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has reportedly purchased a US$33.5 million (RM110 million) condominium unit in New York.
Riza Shahriz Abdul Aziz (far left), the son of the prime minister’s wife Rosmah Mansor from an earlier marriage, bought the property at 63rd Street in Park Laurel, New York, according to Sarawak Report.
The report quotes a New York real estate website, The Real Deal, which said Riza bought the seven-bedroom property on Nov 19 last year.
A New York Times report says the penthouse unit, situated in Central Park West, was purchased by Riza under the shield of a limited-liability company named Park Laurel Acquisition.
Riza, according to Sarawak Report, began a banking career after graduating from the London School of Economics in 2000.
The report said Riza had worked with consultancy firm KPMG until 2002 and later at HSBC London until the financial crash of 2008.
“According to the Financial Services Authority, Riza Aziz was employed in a relatively minor role at HSBC for five years, although Aziz himself says he resigned in 2008,” reads the report.
Despite his brief banking career, Riza is now a rising star in Hollywood, for he is said to have bankrolled the recently released film, ‘Wolf of Wall Street’, through producing company Red Granite Pictures which he co-founded with Joey McFarland.
‘Flush with funds’
The report also cites a Los Angeles Times interview that quotes Joey’s partner McFarland as saying that their company’s strategy is “to buy up promising but troubled production projects that other studios have dropped”.
Riza’s source of funding is unclear, says Sarawak Report, but his company has bankrolled other Hollywood films including ‘Friends With Kids’ and the sequel to ‘Dumb and Dumber’ dubbed ‘Dumb and Dumber To’, with a deliberate mispell.
The report also said Penang-based businessman Jho Low was present during the launch of ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ – starring Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio – and posed for photographs together with the two rising producers.
Jho Low, described as a billionaire, has grabbed the headlines over his lavish spending and supposed close links with Najib and Rosmah.
Riza’s wealth in Hollywood has not pleased everybody, for the original producers of “Dumb and Dumber”, Steve Stabler and Brad Krevoy, have filed a suit against him.
Red Granite taken to court
According to documents filed with the Superior Court of California that were reproduced by Sarawak Report, the producers are upset with Riza’s company for attempting to cut them out from the production of “Dumb and Dumber To”, which Red Granite bought over from New Line Cinema and Warner Bros.
The court document filed on July 22 singles out Riza as a “relative” of Najib.
“Red Granite has established a pattern of using (Riza) Shahriz Bin Abdul Aziz’s family money to buy motion picture franchises from the studios that developed them and purporting to assume the studio’s obligations relating to the franchises, but then reneging on contractual obligations to the key talent,” the court document says.
Despite the controversy, Sarawak Report said, Riza has been described by Hollywood as a producer to keep an eye on as his company has risen from “nowhere” in 2010 to “top company to watch”. – Malaysiakini