Anti-corruption NGOs ask Leonardo DiCaprio to return corrupt ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ funds

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An anti-corruption organisation has asked Oscar-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio to pay back his earnings from The Wolf of Wall Street, estimated to be worth $25 million, following his alleged ties to the 1MDB Malaysian corruption scandal.

Leonardo DiCaprio

“If he knows these are corrupt funds, we would very much like to see him return them. If that money is found by the DOJ (Department of Justice) to be corrupt, to not give it back sort of says that money that was due to go to the Malaysian public is sitting in Leonardo DiCaprio’s account,” said Samantha Grant of Transparency International, a Berlin-based NGO that looks to combat global corruption and prevent criminal activities arising from it.

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Those allegedly connected to the scandal include his Wolf of Wall Streetproducers Riza Aziz and Joey McFarland, who are co-founders of Red Granite, which funded the Martin Scorsese-directed 2013 film, and controversial Malaysian businessman Jho Low, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

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In his first statement so far on his alleged ties to the scandal, the 41-year-old actor asserted that he would return “gifts and charitable donations,” but not the more than $25 million compensation he made from the film.

DOJ of Malaysia had filed its complaint, which included over a billion dollars of assets in the US, including properties, artwork and even Wolf of Wall Street, for all were allegedly financed with money diverted through the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund.

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DiCaprio said he heard of the civil action in July and “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”.

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