Dirty money washed through Shearman & Sterling to make Wolf of Wall Street
29 July 2016
Thieves allegedly used Shearman & Sterling
's client account to launder $368 million of stolen cash. They are accused of using the money to buy a jet, hire an interior designer and produce the Hollywood movie The Wolf of Wall Street.
Shearman's unwitting involvement was revealed in claims filed in the US, where prosecutors claim that Low Taek Jho, a Malysian financier, and Riza Aziz, the stepson of the country's prime minister, stole £3.5 billion from 1 MDB, a Malaysian investment fund. The US Justice Department is looking to seize $1 billion, and believes that $368 million of the money was washed via deposits in Shearman & Sterling client accounts.
The gang allegedly dipped into the stolen cash inadvertantly held as a sluch fund by
the US firm to buy luxury yacht charters, the services of an unidentified London-based interior
decorator, a stake in the Viceroy L'Ermitage hotel in Beverly Hills and
a $35 million Bombardier jet. Aziz allegedly also wired $13 million
through Shearman to pay for a three day gambling binge at the Venetian
Casino in Las Vegas, where he was joined by Leonardo DiCaprio.
Prosecutors allege that more of the money was used by the bent bankers
to fund a movie about bent bankers, The Wolf of Wall Street. As part of
its case the justice department is claiming the profits and royalties from the film.
In the latest twist, $5 million of the stolen cash has been traced via a chain of shell companies to a Swiss bank account held by Jasmine Loo Ai Swan. A Sheffield University law graduate, Swan also happens to be the General Counsel of 1MDB.
Shearman & Sterling declined to comment.