Jordan Belfort, the real-life con-man who was immortalized by Leonardo DiCaprio in Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street,” is suing the film’s producers for fraud and breach of contract. (Via Variety.) Belfort filed a lawsuit to the tune of $300 million in Los Angeles Superior Court against Riza Aziz’s Red Granite Pictures, claiming he was not aware the film was funded by money that was stolen from the Malaysian government.
Aziz is currently facing money-laundering charges related to the raiding of the massive investment fund 1MDB which was set up by his step father, the disgraced former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak. He was arrested on corruption charges in Malaysia in July of last year.
Belfort claims that Red Granite’s embezzlement scandal has negatively affected the rights to his life story, and that he would have never agreed to the contract had he known where the money was coming from. The former stockbroker served 22 months in prison for scamming investors out of $200 million back in the ’90s, and now alleges this scam is grounds to terminate his contract with Red Granite.
“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 lawsuit reads. “Had he known he certainly never would have sold the rights.”
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Riza is co-founder, with Joey McFarland, of Red Granite Pictures. In addition to financing “Wolf” in 2013, the West Hollywood-based production and distribution company is responsible for films such as “Friends With Kids,” “Out of the Furnace,” “Dumb and Dumber To,” “Daddy’s Home,” and “Papillon.”
“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,” Red Granite attorney Matthew Schwartz said in a statement.
In a 2017 interview with finews.com, Belfort claimed to know something was up with Red Granite after the company threw an extravagant launch party for “Wolf” at the Cannes Film Festival. “I met these guys, and said to Anne (his fiancee)‚ ‘These guys are f—ing criminals,’” he said in the interview. “‘This is a f—ing scam, anybody who does this has stolen money.’… I knew it, it was so obvious.”