You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Wolf of Wall Street’ Producers Accused in Massive Malaysia Corruption Probe

The Justice Department moved on Wednesday to seize more than $1 billion allegedly stolen from a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund, as part of a sprawling kleptocracy investigation that spanned three continents.

At the center of the case is Riza Aziz, the CEO of Red Granite Pictures and the stepson of Najib Razak, the prime minister of Malaysia. The asset forfeiture action alleges that Aziz diverted government funds to finance the 2013 film “The Wolf of Wall Street,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, and to buy luxury real estate and pay gambling expenses. The complaint alleges that Aziz used diverted funds to gamble in Las Vegas with financier Jho Low and “Hollywood Actor 1” — easily identifiable as DiCaprio.

In total, the government allegedly that some $3.5 billion was stolen from 1MDB, the Malaysian fund, through a complex web of shell companies and real estate transactions. The case is the largest kleptocracy case ever filed by the U.S. government.

“We will not allow the United States to become a playground for the corrupt,” said Eileen Decker, the U.S. Attorney for Los Angeles, at a press conference announcing the action in Washington, D.C.

Red Granite referred questions to a publicist, who did not have an immediate comment. In the past, the company has said that it received investment from Mohamed Ahmed Badawy Al-Husseiny, an Abu Dhabi businessman, and denied allegations that it had taken money from 1MDB. Over the last year, investigators in the U.S., Switzerland and Singapore have worked to trace assets back to 1MDB — a job that investigators said was too complex for any single agency to handle on its own.

“We will be relentless in our efforts to deny them the proceeds from their crimes,” said Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Lynch said that the government is seeking to seize future revenues from “The Wolf of Wall Street” that would go to Red Granite. Much of the money from the scheme has been dissipated, she said.

More Biz

  • Despacito Luis Fonsi Daddy Yankee

    'Despacito' Tops Vevo's Most-Watched Videos of the Past Decade Chart

    In celebration of its 10-year anniversary, Vevo today announced its Top 10 lists of the decade’s most-watched music videos. Not surprisingly, the Most-Watched Music Video accolade goes to Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito” (featuring Daddy Yankee), with 6.4 billion views since its release in early 2017. The second most-viewed video is Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk” (featuring Bruno [...]

  • MoviePass card

    MoviePass Accused of Contract Breach by Oasis Ventures

    Oasis Ventures Entertainment, a Dubai-based investment fund, sued MoviePass on Monday, alleging that the loyalty-card company stole film titles to create its film unit. Oasis has had a joint venture with action movie producers Randall Emmett and George Furla since 2013. In 2018, Emmett Furla Oasis went into business with Helios and Matheson Analytics, the [...]

  • The Laundromat Netflix

    'Panama Papers' Attorneys Sue Netflix to Block Release of 'The Laundromat'

    The lawyers at the heart of the “Panama Papers” scandal have filed a federal suit seeking to block Netflix from releasing “The Laundromat,” the Steven Soderbergh film that stars Meryl Streep. Jurgen Mossack and Ramon Fonseca, the principals of Mossack Fonseca, allege that the film defames them and uses their firm’s logo without authorization. In [...]

  • Reese Witherspoon Kerry Washington Ryan Reynolds

    Market for Package Deals and Original Ideas Heats Up Ahead of Platform Launches

    Practically every studio in town wanted it, but in the end it was Apple that swept in to nab the reinterpretation of “A Christmas Carol” with Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds. To buy the highly coveted package, the tech giant was willing to shell out more than $60 million to the stars and the film’s [...]

  • Matt Lauer Times Up

    Time's Up Calls for NBC News to Make 'Structural Change' in Wake of Matt Lauer Rape Allegation

    Time’s Up — the anti-sexual harassment advocacy group launched by Hollywood celebrities — has responded to the ongoing sexual harassment allegations at NBC that continue to unfold this week following the release of Ronan Farrow’s new book. “Catch and Kill” details the investigative journalist’s experience reporting against systems of power, with much of the book [...]

  • Wilder Logo

    Paradigm’s Tom Windish Teams With Future Classic to Launch Wilder Label

    Future Classic and Paradigm agent Tom Windish today announce the formation of a new record label: Wilder, a singles oriented joint-venture set on creating a release pipeline for emerging young artists and bands. Wilder — named after Windish’s newborn son — launches today with the re-release of ”Applesauce” the first single from 19-year old Indiana-based [...]

  • Atlantic UK’s Ben Cook Steps Down

    Atlantic UK President Ben Cook Steps Down Over ‘Offensive’ Run-DMC Costume

    Atlantic UK president Ben Cook announced today that he is stepping down from his post due to an “offensive” appearance as a member of Run-DMC at a birthday party seven years ago. Parlophone co-president Mark Mitchell will take on the leadership of the label on an interim basis. “It is with great sadness that today [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content