The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF) has released its first statement as critics urge the Oscar winner to step down as UN Messenger of Peace amid news that his foundation is involved in the world’s largest embezzlement case.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, DiCaprio reportedly received millions of dollars from the 1MDB sovereign wealth fund for his involvement in “The Wolf of Wall Street”, which was allegedly financed by stolen Malaysian funds and co-produced by Riza Aziz, the grandson of the Malaysian prime minister and a major player in the investigation. It is also reported that the LDF received funds from the man at the heart of the scandal, Jho Low.
“Several months ago in July, Mr. DiCaprio first learned through press reports of the [U.S.] government’s civil action against some of the parties involved in the making of ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’,” an LDF spokesperson said in a 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.”
The statement continued: “All contact was initiated by Mr. DiCaprio and LDF. Both Mr. DiCaprio and LDF continue to be entirely supportive of all efforts to assure that justice is done in this matter. Mr. DiCaprio is grateful for the lead and instruction of the government on how to accomplish this.”
Making matters worse, a direct link was established between the 1MDB inquiry and major environmental problems in Malaysia, posing a major conflict with the efforts of LDF.
DiCaprio “will continue to limit his [comments] on this matter,” the statement added.