Beverly Hills Mansion Enmeshed in 1MDB Scandal Sells for $27.4 Million

A luxurious Beverly Hills, California, mansion swept up in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal—an alleged multi-billion-dollar theft—has sold for $27.4 million, according to listing records.

The sale this week concludes for the contemporary 13,000-square-foot house a tumultuous chapter that featured alleged money laundering, a Hollywood film producer and unfinished but costly renovations that left the property in chaos. The now-completed house, in the tony Trousdale Estates neighborhood, has six bedrooms, a pool and an 18-seat theater.

U.S. prosecutors, as part of a sweeping forfeiture case in 2016, accused Malaysian businessman Jho Low and his associate Riza Aziz, a Hollywood producer and stepson of convicted Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, of pilfering billions of dollars from a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund to fuel lavish purchases, including a yacht, fine art, jewelry and homes from Los Angeles to New York.

Prosecutors alleged that Mr. Low—who has denied any wrongdoing—paid $17.5 million for the Beverly Hills home in 2010 using the ill-gotten gains and later transferred ownership of the property to Mr. Aziz in 2012, according to court documents. Mr. Aziz is best known for financing the 2013 hit “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

At the time Mr. Aziz acquired the house, it was still fresh off an exhaustive redesign by famed Los Angeles developer Mohamed Hadid, who reportedly included over-the-top finishes like a glowing pyramid sculpture in the pool. That didn’t stop the owner from sending in an army of builders to remake the house, again. 

The remodel included motorized sliding glass walls, a new home-automation system and aesthetic changes using extremely rare and expensive materials, said a person with knowledge of the house. In one example, meticulously bookmatched onyx was used to conceal a hair-washing station hidden beneath a vanity in the primary bedroom suite, the person said. 

But the U.S. forfeiture case against Mr. Low and Mr. Aziz brought construction on the home to a screeching halt, to the extent that a concrete mixer was abandoned in the driveway, according to the person with knowledge of the house.

Eventually, a California court allowed the owning entity tied to Mr. Aziz to liquidate the asset; and the mansion, along with a laundry list of unfinished work, sold to new owners in 2019 for $19 million, according to property records, which identified the buyer as a limited liability company.

Proceeds from the sale were used to cover unpaid bills and taxes related to the property, while U.S. Marshals netted the remaining $7.3 million, according to a 2019 court filing.

Article Source: Luxury Lifestyle Magazine