Los Angeles - The producer of the 'Wolf of Wall Street' agreed to pay $60m
to settle claims it financed the movie with money siphoned from a
Malaysian state investment fund.
The settlement between the US Justice Department and Red Granite
Pictures, which was co-founded by a stepson of Malaysian Prime
Najib Razak, also covers US forfeiture claims against the producer’s
rights and interests in two other pictures, “Daddy’s Home” and “Dumb and
The complaint targeting the 2013 picture, directed by Martin
Scorsese, is among more than two dozen forfeiture lawsuits filed by the
US against $1.7bn assets that were allegedly acquired with money
stolen from 1Malaysia Development Bhd. The assets include mansions in
Beverly Hills, California, luxury condos in New York, jewelry and
The Justice Department sought the profits, royalties and distribution
proceeds that are owed to Red Granite Pictures. The movie starring
Leonardo DiCaprio took in $392m in worldwide ticket sales,
according to the website Box Office Mojo.
“We are glad to finally put this matter behind us and look forward to
refocusing all of our attention back on our film business,” Red Granite
said in a statement.
Riza Aziz, Najib’s stepson, is a friend of Low Taek Jho, also known
as Jho Low, the Malaysian financier whom the US alleges orchestrated
the scheme to loot $4.5bn from the Malaysian fund going back to
2009. Of the allegedly stolen money, $1.7bn has been traced to
assets in the US and UK.
Most of the civil forfeiture cases have been put on hold while the Justice Department is pursuing a criminal investigation.
Elliott Broidy, a top Republican fundraiser for Donald Trump’s 2016
campaign, and his wife, engaged in contract negotiations to represent
Jho Low, according to emails that his lawyer said were stolen when
Broidy’s accounts were hacked.
The emails included talking points on why the US should drop its
1MDB probe. One draft contract showed that the firm of Broidy’s wife,
who is an attorney, could have made $75m if they succeeded. It’s
unclear what if anything came of the proposal. The Wall Street Journal
first reported details of the effort.
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