The 42-year-old actor, who won an Academy Award himself for his role in 2016’s The Revenant, was gifted the rare statuette a few years back by production company Red Granite — who helped finance The Wolf of Wall Street and passed Brando’s prize on to him upon that film’s wrapping.
But like DiCaprio’s character in the 2013 Martin Scorsese film, Red Granite has found themselves the target of a government investigation for their alleged involvement in a money-laundering scheme — the Department of Justice asserting that tens of millions of dollars Red Granite used to produce films Dumb and Dumber To and Daddy’s Home are traceable to foreign corruption, The Hollywood Reporter reported.
On Thursday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section put forth a new government filing in an effort to seize rights to those films and recover a bevy of items allegedly obtained with the illegal finances, Deadline reported — including artwork (by Van Gogh, Picasso, Basquait, Monet, and Diane Arbus), jewelry, real estate, and an original Metropolis movie poster valued at $1.3 million that is said to hang in Red Granite co-founder Riza Aziz’s office.
In an effort to help the investigation, DiCaprio proactively contacted the D.O.J., his representatives said in a statement to PEOPLE on Friday, to return items that may have been tied to the investigation — including Brando’s Oscar, a Picasso painting (purchased for $3.28 million), a Diane Arbus (purchased for $750,000) and a Jean-Michel Basquait collage (purchased for $9,191,040).
“Last July, upon hearing of the government’s civil action against certain parties involved in the making of The Wolf Of Wall Street, Mr. DiCaprio’s representatives – working under his instruction – initiated contact with the Department of Justice,” the rep said in a statement. “This effort was to determine if there were any gifts or charitable donations originating from the parties named in the civil complaint, and to offer the return of any such gifts or donations with the aid and instruction of the government.
“Prior to the government’s filing of the civil pleading today, Mr. DiCaprio initiated return of these items, which were received and accepted by him for the purpose of being included in an annual charity auction to benefit his eponymous foundation. He has also returned an Oscar originally won by Marlon Brando, which was given to Mr. DiCaprio as a set gift by Red Granite to thank him for his work on The Wolf Of Wall Street,” the rep continued.
“Mr. DiCaprio is grateful for the support of the government in this effort, and continues to hope that justice is done in this matter.”
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Investigators allege $4.5 billion was misappropriated from a fund called 1Malaysia Development Bhd, which was started in 2009 by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak as a state-run entity to help the country’s economic stability, and that some of that money went to Red Granite.
The production company was said to put up $100 million for The Wolf of Wall Street, Deadline reported — as well as donate to DiCaprio’s charity foundation and pay for an expensive gambling night with the actor in Las Vegas.
Red Granite remains in operation, previously claiming that it did not knowingly receive stolen funds, Variety reported.
In a statement, Red Granite says it is “actively engaged in discussions with the Justice Department aimed at resolving these civil cases and is fully cooperating. In the meantime, Red Granite remains an active production company, moving ahead to complete post-production work on its next feature film while developing exciting new projects.”
The Hollywood Reporter reported DiCaprio currently has no plans to turn over the salary he received for acting in The Wolf of Wall Street.