The movie “Wolf of Wall Street” broke records and became a favorite to the public soon after its release in 2013. The movie was originally a 1929 Hollywood drama regarding wheeler-dealers of the New York financial district.
Sixty years after, stock trader Jordan Belfort took the title and made it its nickname which now also pertains to his memoir. Fast forward to 2018, the movie’s production company faces a 60-million dollar lawsuit. The charges of the lawsuit are alleging the movies of the production company, including Wolf of Wall Street, have been made through using illicit foreign funds.
Wolf of Wallstreet is allegedly funded by stolen funds of a Malaysian government trust fund intended to help the people of the country.
The production company, Red Granite Pictures, has also produced “Daddy’s Home” and Dumb and Dumber To” which have reached absolute successes. As required by the lawsuit, they have been required to pay three installments to match the amount of money spent to make them. The requirements were documented and filed with the US District Court in California and need to be completed within the next 12 months.
The charges claim that the Red Granite Pictures has allegedly received a large sum of dollars from the government of Malaysia, which came directly from their investment fund. Moreover, the money allegedly came to the Malaysian government from a multi-billion dollar fraud case.
The US Department of Justice has made those accusations to the Los Angeles based production company RGP for accepting the money from the 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) in order to finance the three aforementioned movies. The 1MDB is a huge investment fund created to benefit the people of the country, with the hope of giving back to the citizens. Instead, the fund was treated more like a personal bank account to be maxed out on luxury goods instead of helping achieve the goals for which it was funded.
Leonardo Dicaprio who plays the main character in WOW photographed with Malaysian financier Jho Low, who has been said to be part of the fraud charges.
It may be a little confusing to some as to why the Malaysian government would fund and Los Angeles based company, however, all becomes clear when the background of the owner becomes clear. The co-founder of Red Granite himself, Riza Aziz, is the Malaysian Prime Ministers Najib Razak’s stepson.
In response to the lawsuit, the Malaysian government kept their silence and has not said a word to the media’s requests for comments regarding the US district court in California. In addition, the 1MDB was also closed down for any comment whatsoever. The court filing does not allow for a settlement which entails admitting to the wrongdoings or push for the liability on behalf of Red Granite.
The claims and alleged actions of the Malaysian government and their wrongdoings in US soil do not stop with the movies. In fact, it has been made known – although not entirely clear- that a larger amount of money was used to pay luxury items and were sold in the US.
Assets of the 1MDB were claimed by the US court district, and they include properties in New York and Beverly Hills, a 300-foot yacht, and very famous paintings by world known artists such as Van Gogh, Monet, and Picasso.
Prosecutors from the US court that are involved with the case have claimed that these luxury items, works of art and other numerous properties were taken in exchange for money, which is allegedly stolen from the funds of the government in Malaysia.
The US California Court’s Department of Justice has claimed and is attempting to recollect a combined value of 1.7 billion dollars. The US government claims that this amount is only a portion of the larger $3.5 billions stolen from the Malaysian government.
Loretta Lynch, U.S. Attorney General has made known that criminal charges against the well connected financial fraudsters are not ready to be made, but the prosecutors are working towards seizing the assets as fast as they can.
Members of the Red Granite Production Company have denied allegations of knowingly accepting illicit funds for their movies.
Some of the money in the amount of $1 billion is being attempted to be seized which has gone through American banks, as it has been made known through the civil lawsuit. Singapore authorities have proven more effective than US ones, as they were able to spot and seize the equivalent amount of $177 by undergoing a 1MDB investigation.
The production company has not made specific comments, but it did deny having accepted illicit funds knowingly.