Leonardo DiCaprio challenged over dirty Malaysian money
Hollywood actor urged to pay back all funds and donations he and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation received from Malaysians connected to the 1MDB corruption scandal
(Basel, SWITZERLAND) Hollywood Star Leonardo DiCaprio has been urged to pay back all funds he and his Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation received from politically exposed persons (PEPs) from Malaysia and their companies. In a letter to DiCaprio, the Swiss NGO Bruno Manser Fund calls on DiCaprio to disclose and restitute to Malaysia all donations, loans, salaries and other funds received from Riza Aziz, stepson of Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak, his associates Low Taek Jho (“Jho Low”) and Tan Kim Loong, as well as from Riza Aziz’ film production company, Red Granite Pictures.
The call on the American actor follows the disclosure of his close ties with Riza and other individuals by the US Department of Justice in a recently filed civil forfeiture complaint seeking the forfeiture of more than $1 billion in assets misappropriated from the Malaysian state fund 1MDB. It is believed that DiCaprio received millions of dollars in payments for his cast in The Wolf of Wall Street as well as in donations for his Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation which champions the protection of wildlife, the restoration of wildland and the empowerment of communities.
Last week, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Di Caprio’s foundation had received $3 million in donations from Low Taek Jho through the purchase of marked-up bottles of champagne at Di Caprio’s birthday party in 2013.
“We are deeply disturbed that Leonardo DiCaprio and his foundation accepted assets that originate from the proceeds of corruption in Malaysia. This is a disgrace and in total contradiction with the declared aims of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation”, said Lukas Straumann, Director of the Bruno Manser Fund. “We call on Di Caprio to apologize and pay back all this dirty money to the Malaysian people.”
The Bruno Manser Fund has been working in Malaysian Borneo for over twenty years, attempting to empower indigenous communities and protecting the rainforests of Sarawak. Its founder, Swiss activist Bruno Manser, went missing in May 2000 during a trip to the Sarawak rainforest.
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