Leonardo DiCaprio handed over to the federal government an Oscar that was originally won by Marlon Brando as evidence in the Department of Justice’s investigation into what is quite possibly the world’s largest embezzlement scheme. The production company, Red Granite Pictures, is accused of using millions of dollars meant for the people and environment of Malaysia to fund movie productions.
Red Granite Pictures gave the Oscar to DiCaprio as a gift for his work on Wolf of Wall Street. At that time, Leonardo DiCaprio had never won an Oscar and his omission was considered an obvious snub. Despite being a critical and commercial success, Wolf of Wall Street did not receive any Academy Awards that year either. Therefore, the Oscar had to be one of Marlon Brando’s prizes from an earlier year.
DiCaprio eventually won an Oscar for The Revenant. During his speech, he talked about global warming.
The embezzlement case investigates the link between DiCaprio’s environmental foundation and 1MDB, a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund. The Department of Justice alleges that Malaysian businessman and 1MDB advisor Jho Low stole millions of dollars meant to benefit the people of Malaysia and funneled it into Leonardo DiCaprio’s eponymous foundation.
Some of the money was used to purchase artwork that was later auctioned off at Leo’s annual environmental charity fundraiser. Other monies were funneled into the Red Granite Pictures production company and used to fund the making of Wolf of Wall Street, Dumb and Dumber To, and other films.
DiCaprio is cooperating fully in the investigation and returned the Oscar, as well as other gifts given to him by the production company. The investigation has been ongoing since the summer of last year.
Jho Low, the link between DiCaprio and the missing money from Malaysia, is alleged by the Justice Department to have spent $1 billion on a shopping spree and other stunts. There is over $3 billion missing in total. The money from the fund was supposed to be spent on environmental protections in Malaysia. About $250 million went to Red Granite Pictures to fund Wolf of Wall Street. Upon learning of the investigation, Jho Low fled to Taiwan, which has no extradition treaty with the U.S.
[Featured Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]