Back in 2013, the release of Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street was the smash hit that not only made a cultural impact on pop culture, it also made a huge splash with critics as well. But the financing that went into the film came into question not too long after, as investor 1Malaysia Development Berhad, 1MDB for short, became the focus of an investigation that alleged the funds granted to make the film were ill gotten goods. Now, almost six years after the film’s release, a key figure in the scandal is about to go on trial in connection with these charges of malfeasance.
Former Prime Minster of Malaysia Najib Razak, who was recently arrested in connection to the 1MDB scandal, is the man going on trial, as he created the sovereign wealth fund, which by intent is supposed to invest in “real and financial” assets globally. 1MDB was kind of like a 401(k) plan for the country of Malaysia. The intent, overall, is to enrich the country whose money is being entered into this sort of financial arrangement.
Only, as the charges mentioned by The Hollywood Reporter allege, Najib Razak abused those funds by funneling them into his own high living lifestyle, which included helping fund The Wolf of Wall Street. In addition to funding the film, the money went into celebrating it in a fashion that sounds similar to the events depicted within the film. Now, years of investigation and litigation surrounding are about to kick into high gear, as this trial is the latest step in the overall case against 1MDB and its actions.
Previously, we’d learned that the U.S. Department of Justice cut a deal with Razak’s stepson, and Red Granite producer, Riz Aziz, in which a $60 million settlement was paid to close off a lawsuit from the state of California. Though that settlement was legally announced as no admission of wrongdoing or guilt on the part of Red Granite Productions, so that was somewhat of a temporary reprieve in the overall matter.
Making this story all the more unbelievable is the fact that Jordan Belfort, the Wolf of Wall Street himself, had a deep seated feeling that some familiar tricks were being played behind the scenes on the film depicting his own financial crimes. But, sometimes, the truth needs to be discovered bit by bit, eventually creating a provable pattern of behavior. A pattern that now stands as proof that Najib Razak could have been the head of the most ambitious scheme in political, financial and filmmaking history.
This will definitely be a case to watch, as it’s a pretty large and unique incident that the world will want to avoid allowing to happen in the future. Even more interesting will be the potential fallout and reaction of producer/star Leonardo DiCaprio to this further movement of this Wolf of Wall Street scandal. At the very least, it’d probably be a good idea to pay back the money that he earned for playing his part in the film’s production, as a gesture of good faith.
The Wolf of Wall Street is currently on Digital HD, Blu-ray, and DVD.
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Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.