Wolf of Wall Street producers agree to pay $60 mn to US govt in asset forfeiture settlement

By Moneycontrol News

Moneycontrol News
Producers of the 2013 blockbuster Wolf of Wall Street have agreed to pay the US government USD 60 million seeking withdrawal of a civil litigation for forfeiture of assets.

Red Granite Pictures Inc. (RGP), which was co-founded by a stepson of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, was another party in the lawsuit filed in the central district of California.

The deal not just covers the forfeiture claims over the rights of movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio but also RGP’s interests in two other pictures, Daddy’s Home and Dumb and Dumber To, a Bloomberg report said.

The lawsuit was filed in connection with the multi-billion dollar fraud conducted at the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). The US alleges that assets worth USD 1.7 billion were acquired in the country from these funds which were stolen from 1MDB. The Justice Department has filed over two dozen asset forfeiture lawsuits against multiple entities in the matter.

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The assets which were subject to scrutiny, according to the lawsuit, include some prime location condos and penthouses and a Bombardier jet.

Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, a central figure in the scandal, allegedly orchestrated the scandal, however, he has publically denied that he was any way involved with the 1MDB after its inception in 2009. Riza Aziz, Najib’s stepson, is a friend of Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low.

Last year, Low was also accused by the US to have conspired to partly finance the USD 2.2 billion acquisition of Houston-based Coastal Energy in 2014 using the 1MDB money.

He partnered with Compañía Española de Petróleos SAU (Cepsa) to buy Coastal Energy for a total purchase price of USD 2.2 billion, the government said in a lawsuit.