1MDB money used to finance Wolf Of Wall St?
A SMALL Hollywood studio behind
Martin Scorsese's stinging movie about greed on Wall Street has been swept up
in a real-life, multi-billion-dollar financial scandal tied to the prime minister of Malaysia.
Red Granite Pictures, which produced The Wolf Of Wall Street, starring Leonardo DiCaprio,
was named on Wednesday in a federal complaint that alleges the studio was implicated in a
money-laundering scheme by 1MDB.
The investment fund is owned by the government of Malaysia whose prime minister Najib Razak
has been targeted by the massive scandal.
He is the stepfather of Riza Aziz, co-founder
of Red Granite Pictures, which came up with
the more than US$100 million (S$135 million)
to finance the film.
The production house yesterday insisted
that it was unaware of any illicit funds
being funnelled through the firm.
"To Red Granite's knowledge, none of the funding it received four years ago was in
any way illegitimate," the company said.
It added that it "is confident that when
the facts come out, it will be clear that Riza Aziz
and Red Granite did nothing wrong".
According to the civil complaint filed by the
United States Justice Department, an investment firm tied to 1MDB sent US$238 million to an account controlled by Aziz from June to November 2012.
About US$100 million of these funds was sent
to a bank account linked to the production house and used to fund its operations, including
The Wolf Of Wall Street.
Some of the money was also used for extravagant trips to Las Vegas, where hundreds of thousands
of dollars were gambled at The Venetian casino,
said the complaint.
Among those invited to take part in a July 2012 gambling jaunt was "a lead actor in The Wolf Of Wall Street" who won a Golden Globe for the movie, according to the complaint.
Although the court document does not name the actor, it is clearly referring to DiCaprio.
He bagged a Golden Globe in 2014 for
his portrayal of stockbroker Jordan Belfort.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell
said all assets and rights to the movie will be
seized as they stem from laundered money.