The Wolf of Wall Street and those involved with the movie raised their collectively ugly head yet again. It seems fitting that a movie based upon of the great Wall Street scams (even if it was Long Island rather than Wall Street) is mired in allegations of another type of fraud. This time it involves the money that was used to invest in the film and its provenance. Allegations laid out in the Justice Department forfeiture claims around the looted Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB, set forth that monies used to finance the film may have been illegally derived from the fund.
The allegations involve the steps-son of the Malaysian Prime Minister, Riza Aziz, and his film production company, Red Granite Pictures. The United States has alleged the monies Red Granite put up came from the fund and through a family friend of Aziz, Jho Low; who was also named in the forfeiture complaint. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, “Mr. Aziz and Red Granite have denied any wrongdoing and said they believed the funding they received was from a legitimate business partner in the Middle East.”
Yet, for the actor Leonardo DiCaprio, the source of the monies continues to be an issue as monies were donated to his charities by Jho Low. He and Low apparently became fast friends during the production of the movie and DiCaprio was identified as “Hollywood Actor 1” in the forfeiture complaint. Now DiCaprio has asked the Justice Department “whether he or his charitable foundation had “received any gifts or charitable donations directly or indirectly related to these parties and, if so, to return those gifts or donations as soon as possible.” A spokesman for the actor added, “Both Mr. DiCaprio and LDF continue to be entirely supportive of all efforts to assure that justice is done in this matter. Mr. DiCaprio is grateful for the lead and instruction of the government on how to accomplish this.”