KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysian state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) has denied reports that it had financed the 2013 Hollywood film, The Wolf Of Wall Street.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Friday that global investigators believe much of the funds used to make the film were diverted from 1MDB, whose advisory board is chaired by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. The WSJ said funds were diverted to a small production company called Red Granite Pictures, which came up with the more than U$100 million (S$135 million) needed to finance the film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Martin Scorsese.
1MDB said in a statement yesterday that it had never invested in nor transferred funds to Red Granite Pictures, whether directly or via intermediaries.
The Red Granite Pictures website names Datuk Seri Najib's stepson, Mr Riza Aziz, as the company co-founder and co-chairman.
Investigators in two countries believe that some US$155 million, originating from 1MDB, moved into Red Granite in 2012 through various offshore shell companies, the WSJ said, citing sources familiar with the probes.
Mr Najib has been buffeted by allegations of graft and mismanagement at 1MDB, and the revelation that US$681 million was deposited in his bank account. He has denied any wrongdoing and maintains that he did not use the funds for personal gain, and was cleared this year of any criminal offence by Malaysia's Attorney-General.