Massive embezzlement scheme entangles Leonardo DiCaprio and his non-profit foundation
06/24/2017 // Ethan Huff // Views

A production company that reportedly funneled millions of dollars into the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation is the target of a new asset seizure request by the Department of Justice (DoJ) for its alleged embezzlement of millions of dollars in charity funds.

According to reports, Red Granite Pictures is being accused of illegally siphoning money from the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund, known as the 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) which is meant to help poor Malaysians, in order to produce Hollywood films like Dumb and Dumber To and Daddy's Home.

Because some of this money has also apparently ended up in the coffers of Academy Award-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio's non-profit, his name is also a part of the DoJ investigation. DiCaprio has already preemptively agreed to cooperate by handing over to federal authorities an honorary Oscar he was given by Red Granite Productions for his work on The Wolf of Wall Street, but there's apparently more where that came from.

The environmental group "Save Rivers" claims that the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation has been the recipient of monies from the fund that, even though they were used to support the goals of his charity, are ill-gotten and need to be returned. But so far, this hasn't happened, at least not in full.

"In keeping the ill-gotten money, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation is acting in complete contradiction to its mission statement, which is to be 'dedicated to the long-term health and wellbeing of all Earth's inhabitants ... while restoring balance to threatened ecosystems and communities," stated Peter Kallang in a statement.


"The money should thus be returned to the people of Malaysia to stop the massive destruction to the environment and ecosystem from land developments and pollution."

Was DiCaprio even aware of how Red Granite Pictures was being funded?

There's a chance that DiCaprio wasn't even aware of what was going on at Red Granite Pictures, as the production company is an independent foreign entity co-founded by the prime minister of Malaysia's step-son, Riza Aziz. It has no direct ties to the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation that authorities are aware of other than its donations of artwork that was auctioned off to benefit the charity.

And unlike Low, DiCaprio made the decision without even being asked to return the Oscar and seek goodwill with the federal government.

"Last July, upon hearing of the government's civil action against certain parties involved in the making of The Wolf Of Wall Street, Mr. DiCaprio's representatives – working under his instruction – initiated contact with the Department of Justice," said a representative for the actor.

"This effort was to determine if there were any gifts or charitable donations originating from the parties named in the civil complaint, and to offer the return of any such gifts or donations with the aid and instruction of the government," he added, noting that DiCaprio has, of his own accord, offered to hand over anything that he shouldn't have received from the production company to the government.

Even so, the scandal has turned some people sour against DiCaprio, who was asked by The Bruno Manser Funds, a rainforest preservation charity, back in October to resign from his post as U.N. Messenger of Peace for Climate Change. There's also circumstantial evidence that DiCaprio may, in fact, have been aware of what was going on at Red Granite Pictures all along.

According to the DoJ, some $3 billion has been "stolen" from 1MDB since Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak converted it into a state-run charity back in 2009. Allegations claim that Razak and his co-conspirators have been using the fund, which is meant to help poor Malaysians, "as a personal bank account."

It is also reported that Low Taek Joh, also known as Jho Low, one of the architects of the scheme, facilitated the transfer of money to the Venetian in Las Vegas, Nevada, where Aziz and DiCaprio are reported to have gambled together.


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