Actor Leonardo DiCaprio promised Tuesday to give back the money linked to an embezzlement scandal that helped pay for the production of “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
The Oscar-winner will return any gifts or donations connected to the Malaysian 1MDB wealth fund scandal once a fraud investigation of the fund is conducted, DiCaprio said in a press statement.
“Both Mr DiCaprio and [the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation] continue to be entirely supportive of all efforts to assure that justice is done in this matter,” the statement said. “Mr DiCaprio is grateful for the lead and instruction of the government on how to accomplish this.”
Federal investigators believe more than $10 million was allegedly embezzled from 1Malaysia Development Bhd., also known as 1MDB, and directed to businessman Frank White Jr. The U.S. Department of Justice claims that more than $3.5 billion was stolen from the fund and by people connected to the Malaysian prime minister.
White, an entrepreneur who helped start an investment firm called DuSable Capital Management LLC, raised funds for both President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
DiCaprio allegedly used millions of dollars diverted from the 1MDB sovereign wealth fund for his role as star and producer of “The Wolf of Wall Street.” He also received the embezzled funds from Jho Low, the Malaysian businessman heavily involved in the deal. Low is a former close associate of DiCaprio’s.
Environmentalist reports show that one of 1MDB’s initiatives was to “pay off the chief minister of Sawarak,” the Malaysian state on the vast island of Borneo where the 30-year rule of controversial governor Abdul Taib Mahmud, who oversaw deforestation on a grand scale.
The Justice Department will seize $1.3 billion that was taken from the fund to buy various luxury properties and assets in New York and California, a $35 million jet, art by Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet, as well as financing DiCaprio’s “The Wolf of Wall Street,” which garnered the actor a Golden Globe in 2014 for Best Actor.
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