The Wolf of Wall Street is a movie about terrible people making lots of money in shady and underhanded ways. It now appears that the producers of the movie may have been doing something similar themselves, and the actual Wolf of Wall Street is far from surprised. Red Granite, the production company behind the film, is currently dealing with allegations of embezzlement, which Jordan Belfort, the man The Wolf of Wall Street is based on, says he saw coming from the very beginning.
They flew me to Cannes four or five months after they bought the movie, and they wanted to announce it in Cannes. It hadn't even gone into production yet, and they threw a launch party. They must have spent $3 million on a launch party. They flew in Kanye West, and I said to Anne, this is a fucking scam, anybody who does this has stolen money.' You wouldn't spend money you worked for like that.
The Wolf of Wall Street has been involved in a Malaysian corruption scandal since last year when allegations were made that millions from the 1Malaysia Development Berhad wealth fund were siphoned off into numerous places, including the production company Red Granite. There have been calls by some for Leonardo DiCaprio to return the money he made from the film. He received a producer credit on The Wolf of Wall Street and so some of his income likely came, one way or another, via the alleged embezzlement.
Apparently, nobody asked the original Wolf who spent 22 months in prison on fraud charges, what he thought of the situation, as he tells The Hollywood Reporter that it was clear to him early on that the people involved with the production company knew their money was ill-gotten, as they acted like people who knew they were playing with somebody else's money. Specifically mentioned in the current Justice Department complaint is a trip to Vegas that was taken by many involved with the film. Jordan Belfort was invited on the trip but he says he declined because he was afraid he'd end up dealing with the legal system again.
They offered me money and everything to go to Vegas. A lot of money. Like $500,000, which I really could've used. I was like, I can't do it. Leo went, Margot [Robbie] went. I refused to go. And because of that I'm not mentioned in the articles. I've learned my lesson. It's all Red Granite. They tried to offer me money and give me things, I never even spoke to these guys. I was like, 'I don't need these fucking people.' I knew it, it was so obvious.
It would appear that Jordan Belfort's previous experience gave him some special insight into a shady situation. This has let him remain clear of any new allegations, while many other are still dealing with the fallout from the three-year-old film. This story is far from over. Even if the charges are true, there's a good chance that many were completely unaware of the source of the money, although that may not necessarily shield them from punishment.