’The Wolf of Wall Street’ pro­ducer set­tles US suit linked to Malaysian fund

Arab News - - BUSINESS -

KUALA LUMPUR: The movie com­pany that made “The Wolf of Wall Street,” and was co-founded by the Malaysian prime min­is­ter’s step son, has set­tled a civil law­suit brought by the US govern­ment to seize as­sets al­legedly bought with money stolen from a Malaysian state fund.

Red Gran­ite Pic­tures an­nounced the set­tle­ment in a fil­ing at the fed­eral Los An­ge­les court, with­out re­veal­ing any sum.

US pros­e­cu­tors, pur­su­ing a klep­toc­racy as­set re­cov­ery ini­tia­tive, had claimed the 2013 film, di­rected by Martin Scors­ese and star­ring Leonardo DiCaprio, was fi­nanced by Red Gran­ite us­ing funds stolen from 1Malaysia Devel­op­ment Ber­had (1MDB).

“The par­ties are pleased to in­form the court that Red Gran­ite and the govern­ment have reached a set­tle­ment in prin­ci­ple,” the fil­ing stated.

Red Gran­ite has said pre­vi­ously that nei­ther it, or its co-founder Riza Aziz, had done any­thing wrong. The US Jus­tice Depart­ment has lodged dozens of law­suits in the past two years re­lated to the al­leged mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion of $4.5 bil­lion from the in­vest­ment fund, 1MDB.

The US is seek­ing to seize some $1.7 bil­lion in as­sets, mak­ing it the largest ac­tion brought by the depart­ment un­der its klep­toc­racy as­set re­cov­ery ini­tia­tive.

The scan­dal has dogged Prime Min­is­ter Na­jib Razak, who had chaired 1MDB’s ad­vi­sory board un­til it was dis­man­tled last year, but he has con­sis­tently de­nied any wrong do­ing re­lated to the fund.

While Na­jib has not been the sub­ject of any of the law­suits, a num­ber of his close as­so­ci­ates, in­clud­ing step son Riza Aziz, have been named by US in­ves­ti­ga­tors.

Both US and Malaysian of­fi­cials have con­firmed how­ever, that Na­jib is the “Malaysian Of­fi­cial Num­ber 1” re­ferred to in Fed­eral Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion re­ports.

Red Gran­ite Pic­tures pro­vided no de­tails of the set­tle­ment, which the fil­ing said re­mains sub­ject to fi­nal doc­u­men­ta­tion and nec­es­sary ap­provals within the govern­ment.

The set­tle­ment also cov­ers claims against Red Gran­ite’s rights and in­ter­ests in two other pic­tures, “Daddy’s Home” and “Dumb and Dum­ber To.”

Po­ten­tial wit­nesses in 1MDB cases are afraid to speak with US in­ves­ti­ga­tors as they fear for their safety, the Fed­eral Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion said ear­lier this month.

The US law­suits have also sought to seize a Pi­casso paint­ing given to Amer­i­can movie star Leonardo DiCaprio and mil­lions of dol­lars worth of jew­elry give to Aus­tralian model and ac­tress Mi­randa Kerr, all al­legedly from 1MDB funds.

The com­pany that made ‘The Wolf of Wall Street,’ has set­tled a law­suit brought by the US govern­ment to seize as­sets al­legedly bought with money stolen from a Malaysian state fund. (Reuters)

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