Jordan Belfort, former stockbroker and writer of the 2007 memoir The Wolf of Wall Street, is suing the producers of Martin Scorsese’s film adaptation.
Scorsese’s 2013 film is the legendary director’s highest grossing cinema release. Red Granite Pictures covered the film’s US$100m budget, which was more than the recouped – The Wolf of Wall Street‘s worldwide box office earnings are said to exceed $390m.
Scandal struck Red Granite last year, however, when co-founder Riza Aziz was arrested on embezzlement charges. He’s currently being detained in Malaysia. Belfort’s suit relates directly to Red Granite’s alleged criminal activities.
Belfort is asking the company for $300m, reveals The Hollywood Reporter, on claims of fraud and alleged breach of contract. He says he’d never have done business with Red Granite if he knew about their illicit financial practices.
Aziz is accused of putting upwards of $500 million into Swiss bank accounts, which was siphoned from the Malaysian state fund 1MDB. The US Department of Justice has sought to obtain all future profits from the film as a result of the scandal.
Beflort’s attorney Bryan Freedman extrapolated on the reasoning behind Belfort’s complaint:
“Belfort is significantly damaged by Red Granite’s tainting of his book/story rights, coupled with Red Granite’s inability and/or refusal to exploit and maximise the rights acquired from Belfort as required by contract, due to the highly publicised scandal and amid the allegations of their direct involvement.”Bryan Freedman
Watch: The Wolf of Wall Street Official Trailer
Of course the irony here is that Belfort’s fame and wealth stems from a memoir detailing unscrupulous corruption and fraud on Wall Street. This led to a 22 month prison sentence in 2006.