The money men behind The Wolf Of Wall Street and Dumb And Dumber To seem to have been besieged by a high-tech version of notorious crank callers the Jerky Boys as political turmoil swirls in Malaysia. In a filing in federal court yesterday against anonymous defendants, Red Granite Pictures, whose principal Riza Aziz is the stepson of Malaysian Prime Minister, says it has been the target of unattributed harassment and hacking.
“Upon information and belief, on an unknown date prior to July 10, 2015, Defendants unlawfully and without permission obtained access to Plaintiff’s computer systems, and used that unauthorized access to, among other things, collect non-public information on Plaintiff’s business operations, employee lists, and internal communications,” alleges the five-claim complaint filed July 29 (read it here). The paperwork also claims that employees received a series of emails with links to “defamatory blog postings or reports alleging improper activities allegedly connected with Plaintiff, often accompanied by sensational or offensive subject lines.”
The company, no stranger to controversy, also claims there have been “a series of harassing and threatening phone calls to an employee of a related company, who advises Plaintiff.” The complaint names “John/Jane Does” as the defendants. Red Granite says they had to bring in cyber security because of the “daily harassment.”
This jury-seeking filing may have implications outside the realms of the entertainment industry.
With his family connection to Malaysian PM Najib Razak and sudden appearance on the film scene in 2011, Aziz has been accused by the likes of former UK PM Gordon Brown’s sister-in-law of financing the company with cash obtained illicitly, which Aziz and partner Joey McFarland have repeatedly denied. It is unclear whether the “improper activities” noted in this week’s filing are related to that or to investigations currently ongoing in Malaysia on the use of more than $700 million in government funds by the PM, Aziz’s mother and their inner circle. Aziz friend Jho Low, who received a “special thanks” in the credits of the Martin Scorsese-directed Wolf Of Wall Street, has been named in that investigation. Just yesterday, the Attorney General of Malaysia was pink-slipped by Razak, as reports of numerous potential criminal charges against the PM over corruption became known. No charges have been laid against Red Granite or its principals, nor have they been directly named in the investigation in Malaysia.
Not that the company hasn’t been hit with some pretty harsh claims Stateside in the last few years. Last July, Red Granite settled a yearlong dispute with producers Steve Stabler and Brad Krevoy over Dumb And Dumber To after producers accused the company of racketeering in violation of the RICO Act and other “ill-gotten gains” among their allegations.
In this week’s action, Red Granite are represented by attorneys from the NYC office of Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP