Wolf Of Wall Street Producer Settles Claims Over Dirty Malaysian Cash

Editorial Staff 8 March 2018

Wolf Of Wall Street Producer Settles Claims Over Dirty Malaysian Cash

In a case where life imitated art, the producer of a film about a Wall Street crook has settled allegations that the movie was funded with money from a corrupt Malaysian organisation.

The producer of the "Wolf of Wall Street" has agreed to pay $60 million to settle claims that it financed the movie with money siphoned from scandal-hit Malaysian state investment fund 1MDB.

The settlement between the US Justice Department and Red Granite Pictures, which was co-founded by a stepson of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak,  also covers US forfeiture claims against the producer’s rights and interests in two other pictures, “Daddy’s Home” and “Dumb and Dumber To”, media reports said.

The complaint targeting the Wolf of Wall Street, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio, is a case of where a film about a fraudster was paid for with illicit money. The character portrayed by DiCaprio is a fraudster who for a while prospered until being arrested and jailed.

This case is one of several cases is among more than two dozen forfeiture lawsuits filed by the US against $1.7 billion assets that were allegedly acquired with money stolen from 1Malaysia Development Bhd. The Justice Department sought the profits, royalties and distribution proceeds that are owed to Red Granite Pictures.

The 1MDB saga has seen a number of banks censured in jurisdictions such as Singapore for failing to control illicit financial transactions. In that Asian city-state, two banks – BSI and Falcon Private Bank – were told their bank licences in Singapore were being taken away.

Media reports quoted Red Granite as saying: “We are glad to finally put this matter behind us and look forward to refocusing all of our attention back on our film business.”

Riza Aziz, Najib’s stepson, is a friend of Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low, the Malaysian financier whom the U. alleges orchestrated the scheme to loot $4.5 billion from the Malaysian fund going back to 2009. Of the allegedly stolen money, $1.7 billion has been traced to assets in the US and UK (source: Bloomberg).

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak, who launched 1MDB, has been accused of using the organisation for personal gain, but has repeatedly denied wrongdoing.


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