Leonardo DiCaprio is under pressure after it was revealed that some of his donors and investors were embroiled in a Malaysian embezzlement scandal.
A rainforest-based charity, the Bruno Manser Fund, wrote an open letter urging the actor to pay back all donations, loans and other funds he and his Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, an environmental charity, received from Riza Aziz, stepson of Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak, his associates Low Taek Jho (“Jho Low”) and Tan Kim Loong, and any funds from Aziz’ film production company, Red Granite Pictures.
The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a complaint suggesting Aziz and his colleagues embezzled $3 billion in assets from the Malaysian state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad, per the Hollywood Reporter. The money was supposed to be used for initiatives promoting economic development in Malaysia.
The Bruno Manser Fund believes that DiCaprio received “millions of dollars in payments” for his cast in “The Wolf of Wall Street” as well as in donations for the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.
“We are deeply disturbed that Leonardo DiCaprio and his foundation accepted assets that originate from the proceeds of corruption in Malaysia. This is a disgrace and in total contradiction with the declared aims of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation,” said Lukas Straumann, Director of the Bruno Manser Fund. “We call on DiCaprio to apologize and pay back all this dirty money to the Malaysian people.”
DiCaprio has yet to comment on the controversy.