By Bradley Hope
The U.S. film company that produced “The Wolf of Wall Street” reached a deal with the Justice Department on Monday to keep separate its future earnings from the film pending the outcome of the government’s civil asset-seizure cases tied to a Malaysian investment fund, according to a filing.
The government last month filed cases to seize more than $1 billion of assets allegedly acquired with funds embezzled from 1Malaysia Development Bhd., a Malaysian sovereign-wealth fund that is at the center of corruption and money-laundering inquiries in at least seven countries.
Among the assets was all future income from “The Wolf of Wall Street” due to Red Granite Pictures, which the government said used money siphoned from 1MDB to finance the film. The film has grossed $400 million, though it is unclear how much of that went to Red Granite.
Under the agreement, Red Granite will ring-fence future income from the film. The amount may be relatively small—in the millions of dollars—through sales to television networks and video-on-demand companies such as Netflix.
Red Granite was co-founded by Riza Aziz, the stepson of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. The government also moved to seize luxury properties of Mr. Aziz in New York and Beverly Hills, Calif., as well as hundreds of millions of dollars in property and investments owned by his friend and confidante of Mr. Najib, Jho Low