4:06pm PT by Ashley Cullins
'Snowden' Exec Producer Tapped to Oversee Red Granite During Government Probe
Former Endgame Entertainment president Douglas Hansen will oversee Red Granite Pictures while it continues settlement talks with the U.S. government that would end a Malaysian embezzlement investigation.
In July 2016, federal authorities filed several civil forfeiture cases aimed at seizing more than $1 billion in assets tied to a fund called 1Malaysia Development Berdhard (1MDB). The U.S. government alleged that money was diverted by high-level officials in Malaysia into shell companies and then into a variety of properties, including Beverly Hills and New York City real estate, as well as funding for Red Granite, run by CEO Riza Aziz, the stepson of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.
The parties last month filed a joint brief asking the court to allow them to appoint an independent operational fiduciary (IOF) to help keep the business running until the matter is resolved. U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer initially denied the request because of how the proposed order was written, but he later approved a revised motion.
Hansen, whose credits include Snowden, Looper and An Education, will oversee Red Granite's operations and management. Those duties will include inspecting the company's books, monitoring transactions, opening bank accounts and consulting with the management team. Hansen won't be authorized to take out loan facilities, acquire capital assets, withdraw from contracts, hire or fire staff or access attorney-client privileged information.
He will hold the position for 30 days, at which time the parties will either agree in writing that he continue as IOF or appoint someone else. If they disagree on whether Hansen should remain in the role they can ask the court to intervene.
According to the request, Hansen’s appointment is “designed to support Red Granite’s ongoing business operations and provide reassurance to Red Granite’s business partners.”
The request adds that Hansen “is also specifically intended by the Parties to fully support the completion of post-production and the distribution of Red Granite’s upcoming release, Papillon.”
A big-budget remake of the 1973 prison-escape classic of the same name, the new film stars Charlie Hunnam and Rami Malek in the roles made famous by Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman, respectively, with Danish helmer Michael Noer in the director’s chair. With shooting having wrapped in December after several months of filming in Eastern Europe, Papillon is now in postproduction.
Red Granite issued a statement Wednesday following the decision: "As ongoing, productive settlement discussions continue, Red Granite‘s management team will be working alongside Mr. Hansen and cooperating fully with the Justice Department to facilitate a resolution of this case so it can put the matter behind it. Postproduction work on Red Granite's upcoming release Papillon remains unaffected and on schedule to prepare the film for distribution. The company’s other business operations continue unimpeded."