Red Granite Pictures, the “Wolf of Wall Street” film financier and production company that was ensnared in a federal corruption investigation more than a year ago, has reached a settlement with the U.S. government.
The Justice Department had moved to seize future royalties from Red Granite movies as part of a broader effort to take possession of $1.7 billion in assets that it said were purchased with money stolen by Malaysian government officials.
Those assets included rights to “The Wolf of Wall Street,” the hit 2013 Martin Scorsese film starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The government had also sought rights to two comedies Red Granite co-produced: “Dumb and Dumber To” and “Daddy’s Home.”
In a court notice filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, attorneys for West Hollywood-based Red Granite said they had reached an agreement with government officials to resolve the case. Terms of the settlement, which are subject to approval, were not disclosed.
“The parties are pleased to inform the court that Red Granite and the government have reached a settlement in principle,” the attorneys wrote. “The parties are in the process of obtaining the appropriate approvals and finalizing the necessary paperwork for the court’s approval.”
U.S. officials in July 2016 moved to seize assets purchased with money pilfered from the 1 Malaysia Development Berhad Fund, or 1MDB. Items included four posh L.A. homes, a Beverly Hills hotel and a $35-million jet. Some of the money, officials said, was also used to finance Hollywood movies.
1MDB, overseen by the country's prime minister, Najib Razak, was created by the Malaysian government to promote economic development. But the Justice Department said officials instead embezzled billions and tried to conceal the money’s origins through complex transactions.
Red Granite, co-founded by Riza Aziz, stepson of the prime minister, has said since the outset of the case that it had no knowledge of receiving illicit funds. “The Wolf of Wall Street,” which was fully financed by Red Granite, grossed nearly $400 million in worldwide box office receipts.
"Dumb and Dumber To," a Universal Pictures sequel released in 2014 that starred Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, collected about $170 million in global ticket sales, while the 2015 Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg comedy "Daddy's Home" from Paramount Pictures grossed $243 million.
Red Granite’s upcoming projects include a remake of 1973 prisoner drama “Papillon” (which recently debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival) and a sequel to “Daddy’s Home.”
“We are glad to finally put this matter behind us and look forward to refocusing all of our attention back on our film business,” Red Granite said in a statement.