UK producer making film on 1MDB-Hollywood link

Cinema still: The Wolf Of Wall Street starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
Cinema still: The Wolf Of Wall Street starring Leonardo DiCaprio. PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE

KUALA LUMPUR • Oscar-nominated producer Mike Lerner is working on a documentary centred on the alleged corruption at state investment firm 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) that led to the making of the 2013 Hollywood hit, The Wolf Of Wall Street.

In the film, The Master And His Wolf, "we have a gripping story with a cast of fantastical characters, movie stars, prime ministers and a system of money laundering, with direct links between Malaysia via Saudi and Abu Dhabi companies, which goes right to the heart of Hollywood's elite", the British producer told The Hollywood Reporter.

The news follows revelations by investigators that part of the US$3.5 billion (S$4.8 billion) transferred by 1MDB in connection with a power plant deal to a British Virgin Islands (BVI) firm went to a company in the "motion picture industry".

The Wolf Of Wall Street was made by Red Granite, a Hollywood production firm owned by Prime Minister Najib Razak's stepson, Mr Riza Aziz. Among the firm's principal investors is Abu Dhabi businessman Mohamed Al Husseiny.

1MDB has identified Mr Husseiny as one of the officials from Abu Dhabi-based Aabar Investments - the intended recipient of the funds - who convinced 1MDB to make payments to the BVI firm, which had a similar name.

"Because of this historically massive corruption, the Malaysian government is on the brink of disaster," Mr Lerner said, hinting that the documentary would also focus on murders linked to the scandal.

"And all for what? Greed, celebrity obsession and the ambition to stand on a red carpet. Stories don't get much bigger," he said.

He said filming in Malaysia had been completed, and shooting would move to sites that include Abu Dhabi and Singapore. Work on the film started last year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 15, 2016, with the headline 'UK producer making film on 1MDB-Hollywood link'. Subscribe