×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Wolf of Wall Street’ Producer Red Granite’s Corruption Case on Hold Pending Criminal Investigation

Federal prosecutors on Thursday gave notice that they are suspending the civil corruption case involving Red Granite Pictures while they pursue criminal charges.

The government has alleged that several Red Granite films — including “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Daddy’s Home” — were financed with money stolen from 1MDB, a Malaysian development fund. U.S. prosecutors brought civil actions to seize the proceeds from those films, along with more than $1 billion worth of real estate, artworks, and other assets allegedly bought with stolen funds.

In a motion filed Thursday in federal court, prosecutors say they intend to put the civil cases on hold because the discovery process could jeopardize the criminal investigation.

“Such disclosures could result in the destruction of evidence, flight of potential subjects and targets, or the identification and intimidation of potential witnesses,” Special Agent Jill Enyart wrote in a declaration.

She added that the discovery process could also inhibit foreign governments from cooperating with the ongoing probe, and “jeopardize the safety of certain foreign law enforcement personnel.”

Red Granite recently consented to the appointment of Douglas Hansen, a veteran entertainment executive, to serve as an independent fiduciary. Hansen was installed, at Red Granite’s expense, to oversee the finances of the company and help facilitate a settlement of the government’s civil case. Red Granite is preparing to release the film “Papillon.”

Prosecutors now say that while the case is on hold, they will give updates to the court every six months.

In its civil complaints, the government has portrayed financier Jho Low as the key figure in the scandal. Riza Aziz, the CEO of the company, is the stepson of Malaysia’s prime minister, Najib Razak, and an associate of Low.

The 1MDB scandal has rocked Malaysian politics and launched legal action in at least 10 countries, including Singapore, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Australia. The scandal has prompted Miranda Kerr to return $8.1 million in diamonds allegedly given to her by Low. Leonardo DiCaprio also turned over artwork, including a Picasso and a Basquiat, as well as an Oscar statue that once belonged to Marlon Brando.

More Film

  • Donald Trump Chucky Childs Play

    'Child's Play' Stars on New Chucky's 'Creepy' Resemblance to Donald Trump

    At Wednesday night’s world premiere of the “Child’s Play” remake, it was obvious that evil doll Chucky — the star of seven films over three decades — had a little work done. And now he bears a striking resemblance to Donald Trump. “Oh, you caught that?” Aubrey Plaza asked Variety on the black carpet outside [...]

  • Academy Museum of Motion Pictures Opening

    Academy Museum Opening Delayed Again to 2020

    The opening date of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures has been delayed again, this time to an unspecified date in 2020. The museum, now under construction at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, has long been beset by delays and cost overruns. In December 2018, the Academy announced that it would open [...]

  • Bradley Cooper speaks at the 30th

    Producers Guild Shifts 2020 Awards Show to Hollywood Palladium

    The Producers Guild of America will hold its 31st Annual Producers Guild Awards at the Hollywood Palladium, shifting the site from the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The PGA had already announced that the show would take place on Jan. 18. The organization, which represents more than 8,000 producers, announced Thursday that it has launched a new [...]

  • Adam Driver appears in The Report

    Amazon’s ‘The Report’ Gets U.K. Theatrical Release Ahead of Streaming Launch

    Amazon Studio’s “The Report” will be released theatrically in the U.K. three weeks before it lands on the Prime Video streaming service. The Scott Z. Burns film tells the story of Daniel J. Jones, a U.S. Senate staffer who worked to reveal that truth about an “enhanced interrogation” program run by the CIA in the [...]

  • Elton John performing at Earls Court,

    Elton John Has a Message for Struggling LGBTQ Youth: 'Be Proud of Who You Are'

    Elton John isn’t at a loss for words when asked if he has a message for young LGBTQ people who are struggling with their sexuality or gender identity. In an exclusive interview with Variety at last month’s Cannes Film Festival, just hours before the world premiere of his long-in-the-works biopic “Rocketman,” John spoke candidly about the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content