Swiss Manser Fund forces DiCaprio to reveal any ties to 1MDB scandal
Leonardo DiCaprio says he's working with authorities to return any funds or donations to his charity that may have ties to a Malaysian embezzlement scam.
The statement comes just days after a Swiss rainforest charity, The Bruno Manser Fund, demanded that he resign from his post as a United Nations messenger of peace if he didn't clarify his alleged ties to the case, report news agencies.
A spokesperson for DiCaprio says the actor contacted the Department of Justice in July after learning about legal action being taken against some of the people involved in making his hit 2013 film, “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
Since then, he has been working with authorities "to determine whether he or his foundation, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF), ever received any gifts or charitable donations related to these parties, and if so, to return those gifts or donations as soon as possible."
“DiCaprio's public statement leaves key questions open,” said Lukas Straumann, the executive director of the Bruno Manser Fund that campaigns against corruption in Malaysia.
“How much money did Leonardo DiCaprio and his foundation get from politically exposed persons from Malaysia and why didn't he conduct due diligence upon receiving these funds?”
The organization also questioned whether DiCaprio would pay back the estimated US$25 million he received for his role in The Wolf of Wall Street.
“While we appreciate the statement and his cooperation with the department of justice, there is clearly more DiCaprio could do to end this disgraceful chapter in Hollywood history,” the statement said.
The 1MDB scandal is an ongoing probe into the alleged misappropriation of billions of dollars through a fund called 1Malaysia Development Berhad.
The money in that state-owned fund had been intended for global investments that would generate profits to be put back into the country and promote economic development.
Instead, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, has accused corrupt officials and financiers of using that fund as a "personal bank account."
In July, Lynch announced a civil lawsuit that aimed to recover some of the assets, including profits from "The Wolf of Wall Street."
Investigators allege a large portion of the movie was funded by a production company with ties to the 1MDB scandal.