The real-life ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ Jordan Belfort is suing the filmmakers over alleged fraud and breach of contract, claiming he wouldn’t have sold his rights to the producers if he had known the film would be funded with criminal money.
Belfort, played by Leonardo DiCaprio in the hit film, is suing the production company Red Granite for its entire box office takings - US$300 million (AU$440 million) - following the news that Red Granite co-founder Riza Aziz may have used embezzled money to finance the film.
Azis is now facing jail time in Malaysia.
In a letter, Belfort’s lawyer Bryan Freedman claimed the famous businessman has been “significantly damaged” by the company’s “tainting” of his story.
Belfort spent 22 months in jail and was forced to pay millions in compensation after he was found guilty of money laundering and securities fraud.
Additionally, Belfort claims he has been unable to maximise the film’s earnings’ potential due to the scandal.
"One thing is clear: Prior to Mr. Belfort entering into the agreement which transferred his rights in Wolf of Wall Street, Red Granite and its principals did not disclose to Mr. Belfort that they were using funds obtained from engaging in racketeering and other criminal activity to acquire his rights," Freedman told The Hollywood Reporter.
"Had Mr. Belfort known those facts, he would have never agreed to enter into this contract. That is called fraud and, once again, Red Granite will be held accountable for its illegal activity.“
Red Granite’s lawyer Matthew L. Schwartz responded by describing the suit as “desperate and supremely ironic”.
Schwartz also characterised the suit as an attempt from Belfort to “get out from under an agreement that for the first time in his life made him rich and famous through lawful and legitimate means”.
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