A recent movie that received widespread acclaim and five Academy Award nominations was financed by stolen money, according to the federal government.
The movie is Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street,” which earned Oscar nominations in 2014 for director Scorsese along with lead actor Leonardo DiCaprio, supporting actor Jonah Hill and screenwriter Terence Winter — plus a nod for Best Motion Picture of the Year.
The New York Post reports that the U.S. Justice Department filed a civil suit Wednesday demanding all future profits, royalties and distribution proceeds from the movie. The filing alleges the movie was part of an international money-laundering scheme that included a development firm set up by the prime minister of Malaysia, the Post reports.
The report quotes U.S. Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell saying: “This is a case where life imitated art.” The Post notes that the movie tells the story of a crooked stockbroker who scams millions of dollars to finance a lavish lifestyle.
“In a series of interrelated complaints, the feds are seeking a total $1 billion in assets paid for with money allegedly stolen by corrupt Malaysian officials and their associates from 1Malaysia Development Berhad, also known as 1MDB,” The Post reports.
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch is quoted saying the fund “was created to promote economic development … with the ultimate goal of improving the well-being of the Malaysian people,” but “unfortunately and tragically, a number of corrupt officials treated this public trust as a personal bank account.”