‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ producer settles US suit linked to Malaysian fund

The film was directed by Martin Scorsese and starred Leonardo DiCaprio. (Photo courtesy: Red Granite Pictures)
Updated 16 September 2017
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‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ producer settles US suit linked to Malaysian fund

KUALA LUMPUR: The movie company that made “The Wolf of Wall Street,” and was co-founded by the Malaysian prime minister’s step son, has settled a civil lawsuit brought by the US government to seize assets allegedly bought with money stolen from a Malaysian state fund.
Red Granite Pictures announced the settlement in a filing at the federal Los Angeles court on Friday, without revealing any sum. USprosecutors, pursuing a kleptocracy asset recovery initiative, had claimed the 2013 film, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, was financed by Red Granite using funds stolen from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). “The parties are pleased to inform the court that Red Granite and the government have reached a settlement in principle,” the filing stated.
Red Granite has said previously that neither it, or its co-founder Riza Aziz, had done anything wrong. The US Justice Department has lodged dozens of lawsuits in the past two years related to the alleged misappropriation of $4.5 billion from the investment fund, 1MDB.
The United States is seeking to seize some $1.7 billion in assets, making it the largest action brought by the department under its kleptocracy asset recovery initiative.
The scandal has dogged Prime Minister Najib Razak, who had chaired 1MDB’s advisory board until it was dismantled last year, but he has consistently denied any wrong doing related to the fund.
While Najib has not been the subject of any of the lawsuits, a number of his close associates, including step son Riza Aziz, have been named by US investigators.
Both US and Malaysian officials have confirmed however, that Najib is the “Malaysian Official Number 1” referred to in Federal Bureau of Investigation reports.
Red Granite Pictures provided no details of the settlement, which the filing said remains subject to final documentation and necessary approvals within the government.
The settlement also covers claims against Red Granite’s rights and interests in two other pictures, “Daddy’s Home” and “Dumb and Dumber To.”
Potential witnesses in 1MDB cases are afraid to speak with US investigators as they fear for their safety, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said earlier this month.
The US lawsuits have also sought to seize a Picasso painting given to American movie star Leonardo DiCaprio and millions of dollars worth of jewelry give to Australian model and actress Miranda Kerr, all allegedly from 1MDB funds.
Najib met US President Donald Trump at the White House earlier this week, but both leaders steered clear of addressing the American investigation into the 1MDB scandal.


Meet the Palestinian sisters keeping the art of embroidery alive

Updated 15 July 2018
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Meet the Palestinian sisters keeping the art of embroidery alive

LONDON: Among the eight striking works currently on display at the London-based Victoria and Albert Museum’s Jameel Prize 5 exhibition, a piece entitled “Shawl,” by Palestinian sisters Nisreen and Nermeen Abudail of the Naqsh Collective, makes a powerful impression.
“For this artwork, my sister and I thought about the significance of precious embroidered pieces made by Palestinian women and put them in the context of what is happening today in Palestine,” explained Nisreen.
“For a Palestinian woman, a shawl has a lot of meaning. It’s a piece she carries with her always. She might use it to collect olives, to protect her from the wind or cover her baby. It witnesses her life story — her joy, laughter and sadness.
“These women should be doing embroidery and celebrating life. But instead, most of them are struggling to live, raise their children, find water, food and shelter. Embroidery is… a luxury. Not like before, when it was done in the spirit of joy and community. Nowadays, in these harsh times, the priority is just to survive,” she said.

A detailed shot of a “Shawl” showing the Palestinian embroidery pattern Eyes of Cows “عيون البقر" from Hebron. الخليل (خليل الرحمن) : يمتد تاريخ الخليل إلى 5500 عام وقد سماها الملك الكنعاني أربع بإسم (قرية أربع) . وكانت موطن إبراهيم الخليل ولذلك سُميت بإسمه. وبها الحرم الإبراهيمي الذي يُجلّه المسلمون واليهود. وللخليل تاريخ طويل في مقاومة الأعداء والغزاة. احتلتها إسرائيل عام 1967 وأسكنت فيها مستوطنين يهود. ورغم أن عددهم لا يتجاوز 1% من مجموع السكان، إلا أنهم يسيطرون على المدينة القديمة تحت حماية جيش الاحتلال الإسرائيلي. أطلس فلسطين - سلمان أبو ستة ( صفحة 79 ). #naqshcollective #nisreenabudail #nermeenabudail #palestinian #embroidery #pattern #art #design #stitich #unit #palestine #jordan

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The sisters, based in Jordan and Dubai, fuse their backgrounds in architecture and graphic design to create their highly original, sculptural work.
“We think these creative women would be happy to see that their art is ‘living’ and not simply being looked at as a museum exhibit. This craft is in our DNA: It reminds us of our grandmothers, our history and culture,” she said.
Created in their studio in Amman, “Shawl” transmits both delicacy and strength. It is made of solid walnut wood and brass to emphasize the durability of the craft. A variety of machines and manual tools were used to achieve the final result.
“We are determined that this craft is going to remain with us and live on through the generations,” Nisreen said.
The Jameel Prize, founded in partnership with Art Jameel, is for contemporary artists and designers inspired by Islamic tradition.
This year, the $33,000 prize was jointly awarded to artist Mehdi Moutashar and architect Marina Tabassum.
The exhibition is set to run until Nov. 25.