Oscar nominated 'The Wolf of Wall Street' producers Red Granite Pictures are threatening Sarawak Report with legal action for 'false' and 'malicious' reporting.
KUCHING: The producers of the Oscar-nominated ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ movie, Red Granite Pictures, is fighting to dispel insinuations that it was fueled by proceeds from Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s allegedly corrupt government.
Red Granite Pictures has apparently issued a legal letter to investigative journalist Clare Rewcastle Brown for “false, misleading and malicious” articles published on her widely read blog Sarawak Report.
Reporting the latest development, UK’s The Independent newspaper said the company has threatened to sue Rewcastle Brown over her claims that Malaysian monies was behind the movie.
Rewcastle Brown, who is the sister-in-law of former British prime minister Gordon Brown, posted a series of stories in her blog about Red Granite Pictures, the Los Angeles-based independent company which financed the US$100 million (RM330 mil) Leonardo DiCaprio film about corrupt stock market trader Jordan Belfort.
Rewcastle Brown, 53, a former BBC World Service journalist, was in America recently to investigate the company which was co-founded by Riza Aziz, the stepson of Najib. His mother is Rosmah Mansor.
The company was launched in 2011 and swiftly established itself as a backer of big-budget films.
In an article published after the film’s release she asked how Riza Aziz had managed to emerge as a major bankroller of Hollywood movies.
“Could it be linked to his family position and circle of associates?” she asked.
The activist also questioned the “special thanks” full screen credit on the film given to Jho Low, the Malaysian “billionaire tycoon” who posed on the red carpet with Aziz and DiCaprio at the Wolf of Wall Street premiere.
The article alleged that Low is involved in Malaysian government business projects led by Najib and Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud.
Local opposition here have taken up on her disclosures.
Rafizi Ramli, who is PKR’s director of strategy reportedly said: “The Prime Minister has a duty to prove that his stepson’s source of funds is legitimate and does not have anything to do with public funds.
“We want to know who are the financiers in his company. Who are so generous as to give such huge amounts of money.”
Red Granite, which rescued the Wall Street film by getting Paramount Pictures on board after the project stalled at Warner Bros, has sent a “cease and desist” letter to Rewcastle Brown following her reports.
The newspaper said it had seen the letter from the producer’s lawyers Loeb & Loeb which objected to the “false, misleading, damaging and malicious statements” on the blog and demanded their retraction and an apology.
It argued that talents of the calibre of director Martin Scorsese and DiCaprio would never have got involved in the film if there had been anything “illicit”, “improper” or “tainted” over its financing.
The letter states that the film was not financed by Aziz, his relatives or “any other sources of finances emanating from Malaysia,” but utilised “traditional sources of movie picture financing” such as major financial institutions and any suggestion that Jho Low was an investor in Red Granite, or the film, was also false.
Meanwhile Rewcastle Brown has refused to comply with the letter and has continued to publish the posts on the Sarawak Report.
“I believe I am asking valid questions about this company and the sources of their finance. No-one had heard of these individuals in Hollywood until a couple of years ago,” she told The Independent.
Rewcastle Brown said she spent a week in Los Angeles talking to industry figures about Red Granite.
“People in Hollywood have sent me mystery emails. I have more information which I intend to run in further posts.
“Everything I have written is based on evidence. They told me to get off their properties but they haven’t followed up their libel threats so far.”