'Wolf of Wall Street' producer charged with money laundering

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Margot Robbie, Leonardo DiCaprio and Riza Aziz attend The Wolf Of Wall Street UK Premiere in 2014. (Credit: Jon Furniss Photography/Invision/AP Images)

One of the producers of Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street has pleaded not guilty to five counts of money laundering after being arrested yesterday.

Riza Aziz, the co-founder of Red Granite Pictures, which made the true story of former banker Jordan Belfort's shady dealings on Wall Street in the 1990s, was arrested in connection with the huge 1MDB fraud case in Malaysia.

Aziz and his company is accused of channeling money that had been stolen from a government-run multi-billion dollar investment fund which was set up by Aziz's step father, the former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak.

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Appearing in court in Kuala Lumpur He is accused of receiving sums of $248.17 million in 2011 and 2012 in illegal proceeds from the fund.

Red Granite, which has also made movies like Daddy's Home and, aptly, Dumb and Dumberer To, was forced to pay back $57 million to the fund in May this year.

It's been alleged that as much as $155 million was embezzled from the fund to help make The Wolf of Wall Street, which starred Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie, Jonah Hill and Matthew McConaughey.

Leonardo DiCaprio with Jho Low (Credit: Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images)

37-year-old financier Jho Lo, aka Low Taek Jho, who was often seen partying with DiCaprio and is said to be one of the masterminds of the theft, was thanked in the credits of the movie.

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He has been on the run since authorities in the US, Malaysia and Singapore began investigating the billion-dollar fraud, which eventually brought down Najib Razak's government, and found him and his wife charged with various crimes from abuse of power to money laundering and tax evasion.

As well as partying with the rich and famous, Low purchased Marlon Brando's stolen Oscar for On The Waterfront from a memorabilia dealer for $600,000 and gifted it to DiCaprio, along with a Picasso painting and a Basquiat collage.

DiCaprio later handed over the items to the authorities.