On Thursday, the Department of Justice seized the rights to the 2014 Jim Carrey movie “Dumb and Dumber To” as part of an investigation into a state-sponsored Malaysian money laundering operation.
The Hollywood Reporter said that the Red Granite Pictures film production company used embezzled money to make the film and that works of art gifted to actor Leonardo diCaprio were also seized in the investigation.
TheHill.com said, “The Justice Department said $4.5 billion belonging to the sovereign wealth fund was stolen by high level officials at the fund, as well as their associates.”
According to the Department, a hedge fund run by high-level Malaysian officials called 1Malaysia Development Berdhard (1MDB) diverted stolen funds into a multitude of shell companies that included Red Granite — which is run by CEO Reza Aziz, the stepson of Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak.
As part of civil forfeiture in the case, the U.S. government seized the rights to “Dumb and Dumber To,” “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Daddy’s Home.”
“The government is asserting that tens of millions of dollars used to produce these films are traceable to foreign corruption. Additionally, the feds are eyeing gifts given to a couple celebrities, including high-priced paintings once enjoyed by Leonardo DiCaprio, now in the government’s possession,” said the Reporter.
The complaint against Red Granite alleges that a shell company called Aabar-BVI, —
incorporated in Abu Dhabi — disbursed money from the 1MDB fund to the budget accounts for the three films.
“The feds are also eyeing other assets, including a rare movie poster of Metropolis purchased by Aziz for $1.2 million in October 2012 that was described as hanging in Red Granite’s office. According to a source, the poster has already been turned over to authorities,” the Reporter said.
DiCaprio has already surrendered an Oscar award statue presented to Marlon Brando to the government. DiCaprio received the award as a gift from Aziz. The government also wants multiple works of art that were gifted to DiCaprio by Aziz and other Malaysian financiers including a Picasso valued at $3.28 million, a Diane Arbus photo valued at $750,000 and a Jean-Michel Basquiat collage that was purchased for $9,191,040.
A spokesperson for Red Granite said, “As we have previously disclosed, Red Granite is actively engaged in discussions with the Justice Department aimed at resolving these civil cases and is fully cooperating. In the meantime, Red Granite remains an active production company, moving ahead to complete post production work on its next feature film while developing exciting new projects.”