IT reads like the premise to a Hollywood film: A Malaysian tycoon who owns the most expensive painting in the world is caught up in a money-laundering scandal involving some of Hollywood’s finest actors and directors.
However, this is not fiction.
Malaysian ‘party boy’ Jho Low – who bought Picasso’s Women of Algiers for a world-record €160 million – is caught up in a funding scandal involving Hollywood blockbuster The Wolf of Wall Street.
An FBI investigation has linked over €90 million used to fund Martin Scorsese’s 2013 film to a Malaysian state fund set up to boost economic development.
The investigation shows funds moving from 1MDB – the state fund connected to Low – to Red Granite Pictures, a Hollywood production company controlled by Riza Aziz, the stepson of Malaysia’s prime minister.
Low’s assets have been frozen following investigations in Hong Kong, the US, the UK and Switzerland.
And in a bid to recoup cash he has begun offloading his impressive art collection for millions less than he paid. So far he has not put his world-record Picasso purchase up for sale.
Based in New York, Low is said to be a ‘party boy’ and is often spotted partying with the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio and Paris Hilton.
Six months after the release of The Wolf of Wall Street, Low attended the World Cup in Brazil alongside DiCaprio and Aziz aboard a 482ft yacht.