US stockbroker in ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ sues Riza Aziz for fraud

Riza Aziz is named in the suit filed by US stockbroker Jordan Belfort.

PETALING JAYA: US stockbroker Jordan Belfort, whose story was featured in the movie “The Wolf of Wall Street”, is suing the production company owned by Riza Aziz which produced the film.

Riza, who is also named as a defendant in the suit, is the stepson of former prime minister Najib Razak.

Belfort is hauling Red Granite Pictures to court on grounds that he has been damaged by the 1MDB scandal that engulfed the company in 2017, The Los Angeles Times reported.

In 2018, following an agreement reached with federal prosecutors, Red Granite Pictures paid US$60 million (RM234 million) to the US government to resolve allegations that it profited from corrupt money involving the state-owned investment fund.

However, the company did not admit to any wrongdoing.

Apart from “The Wolf of Wall Street”, which was directed by Martin Scorsese, US prosecutors had also alleged that money taken from 1MDB was used to finance two comedies, “Dumb and Dumber To” and “Daddy’s Home”.

1MDB, however, said no money was missing and denied any wrongdoing.

In the 15-page complaint, the Los Angeles Times reported that Belfort’s lawyers said his book and story rights acquired by Red Granite Pictures had been tainted by the allegations that the movie was financed by “money pilfered from the 1MDB”.

He claimed that when he signed over the movie rights to Red Granite he did not know the company was funded “by ill-gotten gains”. Red Granite had allegedly told him the firm had legitimate investors.

Belfort – who was previously jailed for securities fraud and money laundering – is seeking US$300 million in damages.

Riza, who has been linked to Low Taek Jho – the fugitive businessman at the centre of the 1MDB scandal – had last year claimed trial to five counts of money laundering amounting to US$248 million.

However, Red Granite’s lawyer Matthew L Schwartz called the suit “supremely ironic.”

“Jordan Belfort’s lawsuit is nothing more than a desperate and supremely ironic attempt to get out from under an agreement that for the first time in his life made him rich and famous through lawful and legitimate means,” the Los Angeles Times reported him as saying.