×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

FBI to Seize Assets of ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ Producer Red Granite (Report)

In one of the biggest asset seizures in U.S. history, Federal prosecutors are expected to file civil lawsuits against “The Wolf of Wall Street” producer and financier Red Granite Pictures, the Wall Street Journal reported late Tuesday.

Billions of dollars were allegedly drained out of a Malaysian government fund since it launched in 2009. The money trail led to Red Granite co-founder Riza Aziz, whose stepfather is the Prime Minister of Malaysia. Authorities are expected to seize millions in assets including properties and other belongings tied to the company.

A spokesperson for Red Granite was not available for comment. Aziz has consistently denied any wrong doing.

The Malaysian fund, known as 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB,) was supposed to help the country’s economy, but according to the F.B.I., the money was instead pumped into real estate in New York and Los Angeles–Aziz reportedly spent $50 million on two homes–and later funded Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio’s box office smash hit, “The Wolf of Wall Street,” which grossed nearly $400 million worldwide in 2013. The film was deemed too raunchy and was not allowed to be screened in Malaysia.

The Journal  has reported extensively in 1MDB and and frequently found itself at odds with the government and its departments. Among its allegations, it reported that $6 billion went missing from the 1MDB fund, which was overseen by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Malaysia’s Anti Corruption Commission has denied that any funds went directly from 1MDB to Prime Minister Razak. But investigative reporting by The Serawak Report alleged that hundreds of millions of dollars were paid instead by financier Jho Low — who receives special thanks on the credits of “Wall Street” — to both Razak and to Kahdem al Kubaisi, former chairman of Abu Dhabi’s Aabar fund.

The 1MDB scandal and the 2014 discovery of  discovery of a payment of nearly $700 million into the bank accounts of Razak — which Razak says was a donation from a Middle East benefactor — have poisoned politics in Malaysia for the past several years. Razak has expelled former colleagues and demonized opponents over their accusations that he is linked to 1MDB.

And he has crimped media reporting of the scandal, by using police raids on news rooms, taking publications to court and blocking the Internet access of others. The Reporters Without Frontiers organization describes Razak as “waging a personal war against independent media” in order to suppress media coverage of corruption allegations.

It’s not the only drama “Wolf of Wall Street” is facing the Paramount drama this past year. In January, a judge ordered DiCaprio to give a deposition in a civil lawsuit over the portrayal of one of the film’s real-life bankers.

DiCaprio’s Appian Way banner was also a producer on the “Wolf of Wall Street,” which tells the story of Wall Street criminal and ex-banker Jordan Belfort, though neither Appian Way nor Scorsese are subjects of the F.B.I.’s investigation.

In addition to “Wolf of Wall Street,” Red Granite produced “Dumber and Dumber To,” “Daddy’s Home,” and “Out of the Furnace.”

Back in 2011, when Red Granite launched at the Cannes Film Festival, Aziz and its founders spent millions on a lavish private party along the beach for DiCaprio and producers of the film, which featured performances by Kanye West and Pharrell Williams in a tent surrounded by supermodels.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Gully Boy to represent India in

    'Gully Boy' to Represent India In Oscars Race

    The Film Federation of India has chosen Zoya Akhtar’s “Gully Boy” as its entry in the Academy Awards’ international feature film category. The picture, a coming of age tale about an aspiring rapper in Mumbai’s Dharavi slum premiered at the Berlin film festival in February before opening to a wave of acclaim at home in [...]

  • Lucy-Lost

    Cartoon Forum: 30th Anniversary, Little Giants and New Generations

    TOULOUSE, France –  Celebrating its 30th anniversary, Cartoon Forum wrapped Sept. 19 having showcased the ever-growing strength of European animation. 85 projects were pitched from 24 countries at the co-production forum platform that played host to north of 1,000 investors, distributors and producers – a record number. Falling on French-speaking Belgium – Wallonie-Bruxelles – whose [...]

  • Renee Zellweger Rufus Wainwright Sam Smith

    Renée Zellweger: Judy Garland Was 'My Childhood Hero'

    Awards buzz is building around Renée Zellweger for her performance as Judy Garland, emerging as a frontrunner in the Oscar race for best actress. But for her, the real prize was paying tribute to Garland, of whom she’s been a lifelong fan. “Nobody was prettier, nobody sang prettier…the adventures she had, [she was] my childhood [...]

  • Topic Studios

    Layoffs Hit Topic Studios as TV Division Relocates to West Coast (EXCLUSIVE)

    A small round of layoffs has hit Topic Studios this week in the television division, insiders familiar with the company told Variety. One of the insiders said three executives at the New York-based producer and distributor are out: senior vice president of scripted programming and Viacom alum Lisa Leingang, vice president of development Mona Panchal [...]

  • 'Downton Abbey' Music Gets 'Bigger, Better,

    As 'Downton Abbey' Hits the Silver Screen, the Music, Too, Gets 'Bigger, Better, Grander'

    When “Downton Abbey” fans hear that familiar strings-and-piano theme, a Pavlovian response ensues: Get to the television immediately, because you don’t want to miss a minute of the addictive Crawley family melodrama to follow. This week, with the “Downton Abbey” movie reaching theaters on Friday, fans can’t wait for their fix of Lady Mary and [...]

  • 45 Seconds of Laughter

    Film Review: '45 Seconds of Laughter'

    “Everyone is worth more than their worst act,” said Roman Catholic sister and anti-death penalty advocate Helen Prejean, and it’s with these words that “45 Seconds of Laughter” closes. It’s an apt sentiment on which to leave Tim Robbins’ sincerely felt documentary study of the therapeutic acting workshops run by his own theater company in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content