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Feds Want To Seize Rights To 'Dumb and Dumber To,' Say It Was Made With Stolen Cash

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(Courtesy of Universal Pictures)
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Dumb and Dumber To, the 2014 sequel to the monumental Dumb and Dumber, initially arrived with great fanfare, but it was eventually met with a lukewarm welcome. The reviews were middling at best (it currently has a 29% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes), and it ultimately earned about $80 million less than its predecessor, in spite of the fact that it was costlier to produce. The movie came and went, disappearing into the ether of movie history.

Now, the movie has come back to the forefront. And while the public had shunned it in the past, federal authorities are now clamoring for it; in fact, they want to seize the rights to the movie.

Why? As alleged by the Justice Department in a complaint filed on Thursday, the L.A.-based production company that helped produce Dumb and Dumber To—Red Granite Pictures—had used funds that were stolen from a Malaysian government investment fund, reports CNN.

Prosecutors say that this is part of a wide-scale scheme in which officials and financiers stole $4.5 billion from 1Malaysia Development Berhad—the fund in question—between 2009 and 2015, and laundering that money through a group of shell companies with bank accounts in the U.S. The fund got its start in 2009, when Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak developed it into a state-run entity, with intentions of bolstering the economy in Malaysia.

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As detailed at The Hollywood Reporter, one complaint said that a shell company called Aabar-BVI, based in Abu Dhabi, received about $1.367 billion from the 1MDB fund. In 2012, the company sent three wires that amounted to $238 million to a Red Granite bank account in Singapore. The feds assert that some of this money was later funneled to finance Dumb and Dumber To, as well as 2015's Daddy's Home, a sort of Odd Couple sendup that starred Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg (it made more than $240 million; what the hell is wrong with us?).

These accusations aren't new to Red Granite Pictures: last year, the feds claimed that the production company had used the same stolen funds from 1MDB to help finance 2013's The Wolf of Wall Street. Though the production studio was under investigation (and though the Department of Justice had filed to collect all the rights to The Wolf of Wall Street), federal authorities allowed Red Granite to remain in operation, according to an earlier report by the Hollywood Reporter.

It's not just the rights to Dumb And Dumber To and Daddy's Home that the feds are looking at. There's an entire spread of goods that, in one form or another, has ties to Red Granite and its CEO, Riza Aziz. These items include artworks by Van Gogh, Picasso, Basquiat and Diane Arbus, as well as an original poster of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis that's valued at $1.3 million, reports Deadline Hollywood (the poster apparently hangs in Aziz's office).

A statement from Red Granite says that the company "is actively engaged in discussions with the Justice Department aimed at resolving these civil cases and is fully cooperating. In the meantime, Red Granite remains an active production company, moving ahead to complete post production work on its next feature film while developing exciting new projects.”