TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The scandal of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) has entered a new chapter. The US Justice Department was seeking to collect US$60 million, or nearly Rp850 billion, from Red Granite Pictures last week. Red Granite is a film production studio established by Riza Aziz, stepson of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.
In Hollywood, Red Granite is not an insignificant studio. It produced the film The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), which was directed by Martin Scorsese. It has become the talk of the town, not only because this film starring Leonardo DiCaprio made nearly US$400 million, but because the Justice Department suspects that the film’s production costs were taken from 1MDB.
Nicole Navas Oxman, a Justice Department spokesperson, said that the takeover of Red Granite assets is an initial measure. According to her, there are still about 30 reports about the misuse of 1MDB funds worth nearly Rp25 trillion. "We are going to continue to pursue assets suspected of being misappropriated from 1MDB," she said to Tempo on Thursday last week.
The seizure of Red Granite funds was part of a US government investigation into the 1MDB corruption scandal. Two weeks earlier, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) asked the Indonesian police to confiscate the ship Equanimity which was anchored at Tanjung Benoa, Bali. This luxury yacht worth Rp3.5 trillion is suspected to belong to Low Taek Jho alias Jho Low.
Read the full article in this week's edition of Tempo English Magazine