Red Granite Pictures, which finds itself at the center of a massive international corruption case, issued a statement Monday seeking to reassure the entertainment industry that it is still in business.
“Today we announce in no uncertain terms that Red Granite remains open for business, and that everyone involved with Red Granite can confidently continue to do business with us in the wake of the civil lawsuit filed by the government last month,” the company said in a statement.
The U.S. Department of Justice filed a $1 billion asset forfeiture case on July 20, alleging the widespread looting of 1MDB, a Malaysian development fund. It accuses Red Granite CEO Riza Aziz, the stepson of Malaysia’s prime minister, of taking some $74 million that traced back to the fund to finance Red Granite. It also accuses Aziz of using looted funds to buy luxury real estate in London, Beverly Hills and New York.
Late Monday, prosecutors filed a stipulation with Red Granite that sets up a procedure to segregate proceeds from two Red Granite films: “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Friends With Kids,” a 2011 film starring Megan Fox. The second film was not previously part of the government’s case. As part of the stipulation, the government withdrew a proposed restraining order against the rights to “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
Instead, the stipulation maintains existing collection account management agreements, thereby allowing proceeds from the films to continue to flow to DiCaprio, Scorsese, Fox, the actors’ and directors’ guilds, and to Red Granite’s lenders.
Any portion of the proceeds from the two films that are due to Red Granite will be held in segregated accounts pending a ruling on the government’s asset forfeiture request. Prosecutors are ultimately seeking to return funds to the Malaysian people.
In its statement, Red Granite declared that the stipulation will allow business to proceed as usual.
“The agreement also makes clear that the government has no interest in interfering with Red Granite’s ongoing business and that there is nothing about its lawsuit that should prevent anyone from working with Red Granite,” the company said. “Red Granite has an exciting upcoming film slate, and we look forward to making many more great movies.”
Red Granite is producing “Papillon,” starring Charlie Hunnam, a remake of the 1973 film starring Steve McQueen.
The Justice Department has said that the investigation is ongoing.