Vintage ‘King Kong’ poster among latest 1MDB loot returned

LOS ANGELES: 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 1MDB.

“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 state fund, and his accomplices, according to a filing Monday in Los Angeles federal court.

Joey McFarland.

McFarland, who co-founded Red Granite Pictures with Riza Aziz, the stepson of former prime minister Najib Razak, said he didn’t know that the gifts may have been purchased with funds diverted from 1MDB.

Red Granite last year paid US$60 million to settle claims it financed the 2013 film “Wolf of Wall Street”, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, with stolen Malaysian money.

According the US forfeiture complaint, Aziz 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 McFarland, DiCaprio and Scorcese, according to the Department of Justice.

Among the other posters 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.