Red Granite lawsuit dropped

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 25 Sep 2016

PETALING JAYA: A civil racketeering lawsuit filed in the United States against Red Granite Pictures, the producers of the Oscar-nominated film The Wolf of Wall Street, has been dropped.

California-based portal The Hollywood Reporter said that lawyer Matthias Chang and former PAS leader Husam Musa moved to voluntarily dismiss the suit without prejudice, according to court documents filed on Friday.

In a statement on Saturday, the former PAS vice-president said that he and Chang voluntarily withdrew their suit in order to add in amendments to their initial complaint.

Among these new developments was Red Granite’s joint application with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) to limit the freeze on its accounts related to the films The Wolf of Wall Street and Friends With Kids

“What happened was a voluntary withdrawal or a voluntary dismissal under Rule 41(a)(1)(A)(i) of the United States Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, without prejudice.

“This means that we are allowed to re-file the case,” said Husam. 

On Aug 14, Chang and Husam initiated a putative class action against the company, along with principals Riza Aziz and Joey McFarland, claiming Red Granite had allegedly used funds from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) to produce The Wolf of Wall Street.

In a statement, Red Granite told The Hollywood Reporter that the dismissal of the “frivolous” lawsuit was the right thing to do.

“It never should have been filed in the first place. Red Granite continues to work on exciting new projects,” it said.

Despite the dismissal, it is reported that the US Department of Justice is still investigating the film’s funding.

Last month, a court agreed to allow the producers to continue working as usual pending the investigation.

Riza Aziz, a co-founder of Red Granite Pictures, is Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor’s son and the stepson of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

In a statement later, Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak said the lawsuit was “baseless from the start” and that it was a publicity stunt to manipulate public perception.

While the lawsuit had generated news when it was filed on Aug 11, Dr Salleh said the Western media “strangely” have not reported about the lawsuit having been dismissed now.

“It was part of Tun Dr Mahathir’s plan to sabotage 1MDB and damage Malaysia’s economy to unseat the democratically-elected government.

“And all this for selfish political reasons, just to benefit his son Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir,” he said.

“It must be frustrating for Tun Mahathir that each of his attempts to subvert Malaysia’s democracy has failed.

“They will continue to fail.

“The Government won’t be distracted by Tun Mahathir’s increasingly desperate attempts,” he said.

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