Wall Street's Wolf with a soft spot for Kiwis
A FORMER stockmarket swindler whose life was portrayed in the Hollywood movie Wolf of Wall St will relive the film's final scene - but this time, the cameras won't be rolling.
Jordan Belfort will visit Auckland in June to host a seminar for Kiwi investors.
The 51-year-old was jailed for 22 months in 2004 for securities fraud and money laundering while running a "boiler room", where brokers cold-called customers and pushed useless stocks during the 90s.
Since then, he has published two books - Catching The Wolf of Wall Street and The Wolf of Wall Street. Profits from those and money he made from the movie is being paid back to investors as part of his US$110.4 million (NZ$128.5m) court-ordered restitution.
The film, starring Leonardo Di Caprio as the former drug-addicted Belfort, has made more than US$74m at the box office and has its final scene in Auckland, with the real Belfort making a cameo appearance.
In an interview with the Herald on Sunday, he said the scene location was "totally random" and he had no idea why it was chosen.
"I asked Leo and he just shrugged his shoulders. I did a lot more work in Australia and maybe they wanted to get it not exactly on the nose, that's the only thing I can think of."
I get such a kick out of it that it ended in Auckland."
Belfort, who hosted a motivational seminar in Auckland in 2010, said he chose to come to New Zealand because Kiwis were entrepreneurially oriented and motivated towards success.
"I believe New Zealand is an amazing country that has a vibrant economy. It's got a great real estate market and I believe that every person, if they want to, has the ability to make as much money as they like and to live the life they like," he said.
He also touts himself as "the most ethical person out there" and says his mistakes have become an asset.
"I actively make sure every decision I make, everything I do, everything I say is grounded at the highest level of integrity.
"I can't control what people think about my past, my past is my past.
"That's my old life and in many ways, that old life is a huge asset to me because it creates a platform for other people to make changes in their life."
When asked if people take any notice of his advice, Belfort said he didn't have to prove himself.
"I have a really good track record at training people in sales and entrepreneurship, and I think that's really well known around the world from my movie.
"It used to be far more difficult to get a crowd, but at this point people really know what I do.
"I'm past the point now where I have to prove I have the ability to do that."