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Wolf of Wall Street producers settle for $76 million in Malaysia corruption case

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The production company behind hit film The Wolf of Wall Street has agreed to pay the US government $76 million to settle claims it benefited from a massive Malaysian corruption scandal.

The settlement between prosecutors and Red Granite Pictures Inc. was approved in US District Court in Los Angeles.

The case was part of an effort to recover more than $1.3 billion prosecutors said was stolen from 1MDB, a Malaysian-owned investment fund.

The Department of Justice said the complex money laundering scheme was intended to enrich top-level officials of the fund, including some close to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Proceeds also went to fund movies by Red Granite Pictures, which was co-founded by the stepson of Mr Najib.

The funds financed the Martin Scorsese-directed The Wolf of Wall Street, which starred Leonardo DiCaprio in a film about the excesses of a crooked stock trader.

The film made $540 million at the box office worldwide.

The settlement also included forfeiture claims to the rights of Dumb and Dumber To and Daddy's Home.

The film production company said in a statement that it was happy to put the matter behind it so it could focus on filmmaking.

The 1MDB case is the largest single action the US Justice Department has taken under efforts to recover foreign bribery proceeds and embezzled funds and several other lawsuits are pending.

Other countries, including Singapore and Switzerland, are conducting probes.

This month, a luxury superyacht with Australian crew on board — suspected of being bought with siphoned-off money from the 1MDB initiative — was questioned in Indonesia on behalf of US authorities.

Money from the fund was diverted to buy properties in New York and California, a $44.5 million jet and art by Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet.

A number of high-profile figures have been implicated in the scandal.

Last year, Miranda Kerr returned millions of dollars' worth of jewellery she received as a gift from a Malaysian financier and Leonardo DiCaprio gave back an Oscar once owned by Marlon Brando.

1MDB, or 1Malaysia Development Berhad, was launched by Mr Najib in 2009.

ABC/ wires

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