Latest returned 1MDB loot includes King Kong poster, Basquiat artwork

Film producer Joey McFarland (left), who co-founded Red Granite Pictures with Riza Aziz (right), the stepson of former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, said he didn't know that the gifts had been purchased with funds diverted from 1MDB.
Film producer Joey McFarland (left), who co-founded Red Granite Pictures with Riza Aziz (right), the stepson of former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, said he didn't know that the gifts had been purchased with funds diverted from 1MDB.PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (BLOOMBERG) - A vintage French King Kong poster, a Jean-Michel Basquiat drawing and several luxury watches are among the latest haul of returned treasures that were allegedly bought with money stolen from Malaysia’s 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) investment fund.

Wolf Of Wall Street producer Joey McFarland agreed to hand over the items that he said he received as gifts from Low Taek Jho, the alleged mastermind behind the theft of billions of dollars from the Malaysian fund, and his accomplices, according to a filing on Monday (July 15) in Los Angeles federal court.

Mr McFarland, who co-founded Red Granite Pictures with Riza Aziz, the stepson of former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, said he didn't know that the gifts had been purchased with funds diverted from 1MDB.

Red Granite last year paid US$60 million (S$81 million) to settle claims that it financed the 2013 film Wolf Of Wall Street, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, with stolen Malaysian money.

According to the US forfeiture complaint, Riza spent at least US$5.4 million on collectible movie posters and the walls of his condominium in New York were covered with them. He also gave a number of them to Mr McFarland, DiCaprio and Scorcese, according to the Justice Department.

 

Among the other posters Mr McFarland agreed to return are Fritz Lang's 1931 German film M, the 1956 science-fiction classic Forbidden Planet, and Cool Hand Luke from 1967.