In a statement released on Tuesday, a spokesperson for the actor said DiCaprio is fully cooperating with a federal investigation into whether the star’s 2013 film The Wolf of Wall Street was partially funded with laundered money, and whether the actor’s eponymous foundation received donations that were taken from those embezzled funds.
In the lengthy statement, the spokesperson asserted that DiCaprio is “entirely supportive of all efforts to assure that justice is done in this matter.”
“Several months ago in July, Mr. DiCaprio first learned through press reports of the government’s civil action against some of the parties involved in the making of The Wolf of Wall Street,” read the statement.
“He 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. All contact was initiated by Mr. DiCaprio and LDF.”
Investigative reports tied donations received by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation to individuals currently under investigation for their alleged involvement in a staggering embezzlement case that saw an estimated $3 billion vanish from a Malaysian government “sovereign wealth fund” called 1Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB. The money had been earmarked for initiatives promoting economic development.
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The actor’s payout from his Wolf of Wall Street deal has also come under scrutiny, amid questions over whether the film was bankrolled by money embezzled from the Malaysian fund. DiCaprio was reportedly paid up to $25 million to star in it, and to serve as a producer.
Swiss-based rainforest charity Bruno Manser Fund recently urged DiCaprio to pay back all funds he and his foundation might have received from individuals under investigation in the embezzlement scandal.
The statement from DiCaprio’s spokesman said the actor was “grateful for the lead and instruction of the government” on how to move forward with the investigation.
As for his silence thus far, the statement said that “out of respect for its ongoing investigation, which has touched many charities, hospitals and individuals, who may have been unwitting recipients of funds now in question, Mr. DiCaprio has refrained from public comment throughout this period of investigation. He will continue to limit his statements on this matter.”