World

Wolf of Wall Street producers to pay $79m to US in 1MDB lawsuit

The company behind the 2013 film, "The Wolf of Wall Street", agreed to pay the US government US$60 million (S$79 million) to settle a civil lawsuit that sought to seize assets allegedly bought with money stolen from a Malaysian state fund.

The film's producer, Red Granite Pictures, co-founded by the Malaysian prime minister's stepson, announced last September that it had "reached a settlement in principle" with the US government, but did not reveal any sum at the time.

According to a filing in a California court yesterday, the company also settled claims against its rights and interests in two other films, "Daddy's Home" and "Dumb and Dumber To".

"We are glad to finally put this matter behind us and look forward to refocusing all of our attention back on our film business," Red Granite said in a statement on the filing.

US prosecutors, pursuing their biggest kleptocracy asset recovery initiative, had claimed the three films were financed by Red Granite using money misappropriated from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a state fund founded in 2009 by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

STEPSON

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

Mr Najib and Mr Riza have consistently denied any wrongdoing.

The Malaysian prime minister's office did not respond to an e-mailed request from Reuters for comment.

Yesterday's filing said Red Granite would pay the government in three instalments: US$30 million within 30 days, US$20 million within the next 180 days, and the final US$10 million within 180 days after that.- REUTERS

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