A complaint filed by the US government is seeking the civil forfeiture of rights to the Martin Scorsese Oscar-nominated movie “The Wolf of Wall Street” as part of assets allegedly stolen from Malaysia.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, federal authorities are targeting more than $1 billion in assets allegedly diverted by officials in the country through an investment fund and then into shell companies.
According to a complaint filed in California federal court on Wednesday, $64 million of the funds allegedly went to the production company Red Granite Pictures, one of the production companies behind “The Wolf of Wall Street,” THR reports. Red Granite’s CEO is Riza Aziz, the stepson of Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak.
The complaint also alleges that money also went into Beverly Hills and New York City real estate, purchases of Van Gough and Claude Monet artwork, and a Bombardier jet, THR reports.
The payments that went into “The Wolf of Wall Street” production allegedly include $3.9 million to Scorsese’s company Sikelia Productions, $48 million into the movie’s payroll, $4.1 million to a special effects company, $2.5 million to the Screen Actors Guild and approximately $80,000 to a yacht charter company.
The star of the movie, Leonardo DiCaprio, isn’t mentioned in the complaint by name, according to THR, but it does mention “Hollywood Actor 1” during his Golden Globe acceptance speech thanking “Joey, Riz, and Jho,” referring to DiCaprio’s speech after winning best performance by an actor for the “Wolf” role in 2014 where he thanked Red Granite principals Riza Aziz, Joey McFarland, and Jho Low.
According to an April Wall Street Journal story, Aziz and McFarland built a relationship with DiCaprio during filming of “Wolf” as they gave the actor Marlon Brando’s Oscar for best actor for “On the Waterfront” as a birthday present. It was acquired for around $600,000 from a New Jersey memorabilia dealer, according to The Journal.
THR reports that Low is accused in the complaint of laundering hundreds of millions of dollars into the US to acquire a “substantial interest” in music giant EMI Music Publishing Group. The government is also seeking assets from song publishing divisions of EMI.
Aziz allegedly sent $238 million from the Swiss account with nearly $100 million going into property and funding Red Granite, the THR report says.
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