Oscar-winner Leonardo DiCaprio’s representative has confirmed that the actor is aiding the investigation into the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) fund scam linked to his hit film, “The Wolf of Wall Street”.
He said (via a spokesperson) that he was cooperating with the US authorities to determine if money had come from questionable sources. To that effect, his charitable foundation, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF), will be returning gifts or donations made to him or his ventures if they were found to have come from 1MDB.
The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, set up in 1998, supports a range of environmental projects.
In August, The Hollywood Reporter published a story alleging that the actor’s foundation had benefited to the tune of some USD2 million (RM8.37 million) from cash and in-kind donations made by a Malaysian financier, who was named in the US lawsuit as being involved in the creation of the 1MDB fund.
Leonardo DiCaprio first learned of the 1MDB probe through press reports in July, when Hollywood production company Red Granite Pictures was accused in a US civil lawsuit of using USD100 million (RM418 million) that the prosecutors said had been diverted from the 1MDB fund to finance “The Wolf of Wall Street”.
“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,” Leonardo DiCarpio’s rep said.
The rep added that Leonardo DiCaprio refrained from speaking about the matter until now “out of respect for (the) ongoing investigation, which has touched many charities, hospitals and individuals, who may have been unwitting recipients of funds now in question”.
For those who are not in the know, the Los Angeles-based Red Granite Pictures was co-founded by Joey McFarland and Riza Shahriz Abdul Aziz, the stepson of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak. Other films produced by the company include 2014’s “Dumb and Dumber To” and 2015’s “Daddy’s Home”.
However, Red Granite Pictures has said that to its knowledge, none of the money it received was illegitimate and that it had done nothing wrong.