VIDEO BELOW: Leo Thanks Jho Low and Riza Aziz (2 min 16sec in), implicated (video link) in a Department of Justice Lawsuit Involving Alleged Embezzled Money Used to Produce Leo’s Award Winning “Wolf of Wall Street” Movie.
(Yahoo) – A leading anti-corruption organisation is urging Leonardo DiCaprio to return earnings made from ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’, due to connections between its funding and the multi-billion dollar embezzlement scandal in Malaysia.
The movie, released in 2013 and directed by Martin Scorsese, came to the screen with funds from production company Red Granite Pictures.
However, it’s since been claimed that the company may have been flush with cash illegally diverted from 1MDB, a sovereign wealth fund in Malaysia.
It’s thought that DiCaprio’s earnings from the movie could have been as much as $25 million, and he’s now being called upon to ‘do the right thing’, and give it back.
“If he knows these are corrupt funds, we would very much like to see him return them,” Samantha Grant of Transparency International, a Berlin-based non-government organisation aiming to combat global corruption, told The Hollywood Reporter.
“If that money is found by the DOJ to be corrupt, to not give it back sort of says that money that was due to go to the Malaysian public is sitting in Leonardo DiCaprio’s account.”
The heat continues to follow DiCaprio around, and though there’s nothing to suggest any wrongdoing on his part, he is named on Department of Justice papers in the US because it’s said that funds that could have been stolen from the wealth fund were also given as donations to his charitable foundation in a laundering scheme.
A spokesperson for DiCaprio issued a statement earlier this month.
“Several months ago in July, Mr. DiCaprio first learned through press reports of the government’s civil action against some of the parties involved in the making of The Wolf of Wall Street,” it read.
“He immediately had his representatives reach out to the Department of Justice to determine whether he or his foundation, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF), ever received any gifts or charitable donations directly or indirectly related to these parties, and if so, to return those gifts or donations as soon as possible. All contact was initiated by Mr DiCaprio and LDF.”
Red Granite is owned by Riza Aziz, the stepson of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is at the centre of the embezzlement claims, and who set up the fund to promote economic development.
It has always maintained that it has never received Malaysian money.
DiCaprio thanked Aziz and Jho Low, a banker heavily linked to the scandal and often described as a ‘drinking buddy’ of the ‘Revenant’ star, during his acceptance speech when he was awarded the Best Actor gong for his role in ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ at the Golden Globes.