Oscar-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio has in recent years become almost as famous for his charity foundation’s opulent fundraising soirées as he has for his meaty roles in Hollywood dramas like The Wolf of Wall Street and The Revenant.
But now the two worlds may be colliding, as the real-life drama surrounding his Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation’s alleged ties to a massive Malaysian embezzlement scheme sounds like something out of a Hollywood blockbuster.
According to an in-depth report by the Hollywood Reporter, some donations made to DiCaprio’s charitable foundation allegedly came straight from funds embezzled from a so-called Malaysian “sovereign wealth fund” that were originally earmarked for development in the country.
That fund, 1MDB, is already at the center of an international investigation for its alleged misuse of $3 billion in development funds, with the U.S. Department of Justice charging that politically-connected Malaysian businessman and 1MDB advisor Jho Low spent $1 billion of the money on a personal shopping spree. The DOJ complaint also charges that Red Granite Pictures — a production company co-founded by the Prime Minister of Malaysia’s stepson, Riza Aziz — used $238 million of 1MDB money to fund production on the 2013 Martin Scorsese-directed film The Wolf of Wall Street, for which DiCaprio won a Golden Globe in the starring role.