Riza Aziz’s mother, Rosmah Mansor, married Najib Razak in 1987.
Jordan Belfort, the former stock broker whose story inspired the hit movie The Wolf of Wall Street, is suing the filmmakers for $300m (£229m).
Belfort was played by Leonardo DiCaprio in the film, which was was Oscar-nominated and a box office success.
He claims Red Granite Productions lied about being “legitimately funded” when he sold the rights to his story.
The company’s lawyer described Belfort’s lawsuit as “desperate and supremely ironic”.
Red Granite Productions co-founder Riza Aziz was arrested on suspicion of money laundering last year.
Belfort, 57, claims Aziz “concealed these criminal acts and funding sources from him” and that he was “blindsided” over the true source of the company’s funding.
Hollywood producer Aziz is the stepson of the former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is accused of siphoning $700m (£534m) from the government-run 1MDB – who funded the film – into his personal bank accounts.
The film, which is Martin Scorsese’s biggest film success to date, was based on Belfort’s book, which described his wild rise as a young New York stockbroker in the late 80s, and his subsequent fall, through a haze of drugs, women, corruption and fraud.
Belfort, who spent 22 months in prison for crimes depicted in the 2013 movie, now wants to make his rights deal void, claiming he never would have made it had he known where the money was coming from.
The amount he is suing for – $300m (£229m) – is how much the film made at the box office.
However Red Granite’s lawyer Matthew Schwartz said in a statement: “Jordan Belfort’s lawsuit is nothing more than a desperate and supremely ironic attempt to get out from under an agreement that for the first time in his life made him rich and famous through lawful and legitimate means.”
DiCaprio’s portrayal of Belfort earned him a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination.
The Wolf of Wall Street was adapted again last year, as a live immersive experience in London.
1MDB scandal: Najib Razak’s stepson Riza Aziz sued by ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ for US$300 million
- Riza was CEO of Red Granite Pictures, which bought the rights to Belfort’s memoirs and its sequel allegedly using funds siphoned from 1MDB
- In his suit, Belfort claims he was deceived about the source of the funds and the scandal engulfing 1MDB has curtailed his ability to profit further
Published: 2:33pm, 24 Jan, 2020
In the 1990s, Jordan Belfort’s “pump and dump” scam earned him millions of dollars and 22 months in jail after being convicted of securities fraud. His extravagant rise and fall was depicted in The Wolf of Wall Street, featuring Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role.Now Belfort has filed a US$300 million lawsuit against Riza Aziz, the stepson of former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak. Riza’s production company Red Granite Pictures purchased the rights to Belfort’s memoirs and its sequel, allegedly using money siphoned from 1MDB, the state fund at the centre of wide-ranging corruption allegations.
In his suit, filed in Los Angeles on Thursday, the former stockbroker claims the scandal engulfing 1MDB has curtailed his ability to profit further from the rights to his story, Variety reported. The suit claims Belfort believed Riza when he claimed the funding for came from wealthy private investors and Goldman Sachs.
“Belfort was completely blindsided to learn, after the fact, of the source of funding for Red Granite and the film based on his book/ story, as defendants concealed these criminal acts and funding sources from him, ” the suit states. “Had he known he certainly never would have sold the rights.”
The US Department of Justice (DoJ) alleges US$4.5 billion was siphoned from 1MDB between 2009 and 2014 and laundered in multiple jurisdictions including Singapore, the US and Switzerland.
Both Malaysia and the US have concluded 1MDB funds were used to buy luxurious jewels, a super yacht, a private jet – and to fund The Wolf of Wall Street. The DoJ in 2016 filed a civil forfeiture suit to recoup some of the film’s proceeds. Red Granite in March 2018 agreed to pay US$60 million to settle the action.
Red Granite’s lawyer, Matthew Schwartz of Boies Schiller Flexner, said Belfort’s suit had no merit.
“Jordan Belfort’s lawsuit is nothing more than a desperate and supremely ironic attempt to get out from under an agreement that for the first time in his life made him rich and famous through lawful and legitimate means,” Schwartz said in a statement.