Leonardo DiCaprio has been embroiled in a federal case involving financier Jho Low and the former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Jho Low, a Malaysian financier that has been arrested on charges of committing fraud, once gifted DiCaprio the Oscar won by Marlon Brando for his performance in 1954 filmOn the Waterfront.
Low and Razak are among a number of people accused of siphoning billions of dollars from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a fund meant to benefit projects that would service the Malaysian public.
Instead of using the projects to benefit the Malaysian people, Low is accused of taking billions from the fund in order to fund his lavish lifestyle. Prosecutors claim that he purchased a $250m custom-built yacht, amassed an art collection worth in excess of $200 with paintings by the likes of Van Gogh and Picasso and secured the rights to a $35m jet. According to Robin Rathmell, Mr. Low’s lawyer, he “does not consider it proper for any government to seize property belonging to the trusts or himself,” while the possessions are thought to be locked into trusts.
One other luxury, the aforementioned Brando Oscar, is said to have been purchased by Low for $600,000 from a film memorabilia dealer and subsequently gifted to DiCaprio. However, a spokesman told the New York Times that the government has the right to purchase
According to reports, DiCaprio’s link to Mr Low continue into feature film. The same Times claims say that Low financed the film The Wolf of Wall Street with what is being described by prosecutors as “illegally obtained funds”. Low’s money was financed through the film through a production label called ‘Red Granite Pictures’.
DiCaprio willingly relinquished all gifts which he had received from Mr Low which included the Oscar and the Pablo Picasso painting “Nature Morte au Crâne de Taureau” (Still Life With Bull’s Head).