Red Granite Pictures Says Funding Is Legitimate Amid 1MDB Linksby
1MDB at the center of global investigations into its finances
Red Granite partly owned by stepson of Malaysian premier
Red Granite Pictures, a Hollywood production company that backed “The Wolf of Wall Street,” said it’s cooperating with inquiries amid a report that it indirectly obtained funds from a Malaysian state company under investigation for alleged embezzlement.
The company that’s partly owned by Riza Aziz, the stepson of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, said it’s confident all money it received had been proper, according to an e-mailed reply to queries by Bloomberg News. Investigators believe that Red Granite Pictures was given funds that originated from 1Malaysia Development Bhd., the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
“Red Granite has received hundreds of millions of dollars in financings over the last six years from a variety of sources, including top-tier U.S. commercial and investment banks,” the film company said. “To its knowledge, none of the funding received by Red Granite was in any way irregular or illegitimate.”
At least $238 million was allegedly transferred from 1MDB via an intermediary to Red Granite Capital, a company wholly owned by Riza, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing documents and people it didn’t identify. Red Granite Pictures later received some of those funds, the paper said.
“Red Granite is cooperating fully with all inquiries and is confident that when the facts come out, it will be clear that neither Riza Aziz nor Red Granite has done anything wrong,” the film company said.
Najib’s family has been entangled in various alleged links to 1MDB funds, alongside a separate donation scandal that has caused nearly a year of political tension in Malaysia. While Najib has so far retained the support of powerful divisional chiefs in his ruling party, the protracted investigations are a distraction as economic growth slows and voters -- including his key support base of ethnic Malays -- face increased living costs.
1MDB said on April 3 it had “never invested in nor transferred funds to Red Granite Pictures, whether directly or via intermediaries,” and has denied wrongdoing more broadly over its finances. The troubled Malaysian investment company remains at the center of multiple global probes amid claims of money laundering and embezzlement. Its advisory board has been chaired by Najib since its inception. Malaysia is dissolving the board.