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FBI quiz DiCaprio in charity fraud inquiry

Leonardo Dicaprio has been questioned by the FBI over his charity’s alleged ties to a $3.5?billion Malaysian embezzlement scandal whose “misappropriated” funds were used to bankroll his 2013 film The Wolf of Wall Street, according to reports.

The actor is facing calls to “give the dirty money back”. According to the US department of justice, certain donations to the Oscar-winner’s environmental charity, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, (LDF), came directly from billions of dollars siphoned from the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.

The department filed a complaint in Los Angeles last month in what has been called the world’s largest embezzlement case, with the FBI saying that at least $1?billion traceable to the conspiracy was laundered through the US and used to purchase “assets” there.

Owned by the Malaysian government, 1MDB had raised upwards of $8 billion. However, according to US authorities, $3.5?billion of that was “misappropriated” between 2009 and 2015.

According to the complaint, Jho Low, 35, a Malaysian businessman and a friend of DiCaprio’s, spent a third ofthe siphoned billions by himself.

Mr Low is said to have helped the LDF by buying marked-up champagne bottles at the actor’s birthday party in 2013 and paying $1.1?million for art at an auction to raise funds for the LDF.

The complaint also alleges that millions more were funnelled to Riza Aziz, the stepson of the Malaysian prime minister, whose production company Red Granite Pictures funded The Wolf of Wall Street. Though not directly targeted, DiCaprio is named as “Hollywood Actor 1” in a 136-page complaint filed by the US department of justice.

According to Le Temps, a Swiss daily, the FBI questioned Di Caprio.

This week, the Bruno Manser Funds, a rainforest charity active in Malaysian Borneo, called on DiCaprio to return money connected to 1MDB. Lukas Straumann, its executive director, told The Hollywood Reporter: “That is dirty money, and he should pay it back.”

Representatives for DiCaprio and LDF did not provide a requested comment.