Art and life often imitate each other in nuanced and unexpected ways, but sometimes the similarities are so considerable and blatant that it is almost comical. Such is the case with the saga of Red Granite Productions, the production company behind Martin Scorsese's Academy Award-nominated film, The Wolf of Wall Street. Red Granite Productions has agreed to pay $60 million to the U.S. government to settle a lawsuit stemming from the potential illegality of the funds used to finance its films.
This gets rather complicated, so let's first look at why Red Granite Productions was in trouble in the first place. The Los Angeles-based production company, behind The Wolf of Wall Street, as well as Daddy's Home and Dumb and Dumber To was accused by the U.S. Department of Justice of accepting money to finance those films from a Malaysian government investment fund that was at the center of a fraud case. The fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad, hereby referred to as 1MDB, allegedly siphoned off funds into various places, including Red Granite Productions, which was co-founded by Riza Aziz, the stepson of the Malaysian Prime Minister. 1MDB was started by the government to benefit the people of Malaysia, but in a case of corruption, billions were embezzled. The embezzled money was used for a variety of opulent expenditures that definitely didn't benefit the people of Malaysia. In addition to financing the films and throwing a lavish launch party, the money was also used to purchase prime American real estate and paintings by Picasso, Van Gogh and Monet. So basically, people took money meant to do good and used it to enrich themselves. Then, they got caught.
According to CNN Media, Red Granite Productions will pay the $60 million in three installments over the next year. Although the company will be forking over this tidy sum, the California court filing states that the settlement does not constitute any admission of wrongdoing or liability by Red Granite Productions. This scandal has been going on for a while, and there have been calls for Leonardo DiCaprio to return the money he made on The Wolf of Wall Street. In addition, DiCaprio has even had to make a statement that he was cooperating with the DOJ. This isn't the first time The Wolf of Wall Street has faced legal issues, either. A man named Andrew Greene has tried to sue Leonardo DiCaprio and Paramount, stating that one of the characters in the film was taken from his likeness and has damaged his reputation.
While this has no doubt been a headache, Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio continue to have exciting projects ahead of them. Martin Scorsese's wildly expensive Netflix film The Irishman just wrapped photography, and Leonardo DiCaprio was just cast in Quentin Tarantino's ninth film Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. For all the latest on legal drama befitting a movie, keep an eye on CinemaBlend.