More gifts linked to 1MDB are being returned, and going straight to the United States Department of Justice this week, after the other co-founder of Red Granite was asked to give up artwork and luxury items bestowed upon him by the bao-like fugitive financier, Jho Low.
Joey McFarland, who had produced such films such as The Wolf of Wall Street and Dumb and Dumber Too (why?) with former PM stepson Riza Aziz under Red Granite, is returning among sundry items a vintage French King Kong poster, a Basquiat drawing [Ed. Note: Is it only us, or are you beginning to suspect that the steeply increased valuation of Basquiat’s artwork in recent years has something to do with Jho Low gobbling them up at every gift-giving occasion?], and two Rolex watches that investigators say were purchased with money stolen from 1MDB coffers.
According to Bloomberg, a filing in a Los Angeles court yesterday outlined that McFarland would be returning the items, though he is pleading ignorance that any of these high-end, luxury items were purchased with stolen funds. The American Hollywood producer parted ways with the production company he founded with Riza Aziz late last year.
Now, here’s where it gets interesting for our dear friend Riza, who is currently charged in Malaysia with money laundering and using stolen funds to finance Red Granite: A forfeiture complaint has outlined that the stepson of the former PM spent an eye-watering RM22.2 million (US$5.4 million) on “collectible movie posters to cover the walls of his condominium in New York.”
Yes, reader – you have seen this correctly. A man lucky enough to be born as the first-round spawn of a woman who would later marry a man of great influence, power and moral ambiguity, spent more than most of the planet will ever accumulate in several lifetimes on bloody posters. Yes, the same things you used in your uni residence to spruce the place up, but you know – to the effect of millions.
*Blinks at homemade sandwich, looks painfully at current bank balance*
Documents also reveal that several of the posters were gifted by Riza to none other than 1MDB’s favorite celebrity adjacent, Leonardo DiCaprio (how ‘bout that climate change, buddy), and legendary director Martin Scorsese.
Turns out, the best way to curry favor with the Hollywood set is to gift them posters that include, but are not limited to, Fritz Lang’s iconic 1931 thriller, M, the sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet, and the 1967 babe-fest starring our imaginary, time-machine boyfriend Paul Newman, Cool Hand Luke. At least he had good taste.
As part of their settlement with the DoJ, Red Granite has agreed to pay the US government US$60 million to settle the investigation into their role in the 1MDB debacle.
Meanwhile, Riza hasn’t quite settled things with the Malaysian government, and is currently out on bail pending trial on charges brought forth by the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission this month.
It’s a family affair on 1MDB-linked charges, with his step-father Najib Razak, also on trial, along with his mother, Rosmah Mansor, each tried separately.
Issa saga, y’all.