Leonardo DiCaprio had to wait a long time before he finally won his first Academy Award, which he finally did for his role in the 2015 drama, The Revenant. DiCaprio had been nominated four times in acting categories – for his work in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Aviator, Blood Diamond, and The Wolf of Wall Street – before finally breaking through.
Along the way, DiCaprio acquired another Oscar as a gift. A Malaysian financier by name of Jho Low had purchased the Oscar trophy won by Marlon Brando for On the Waterfront in 1954 and gifted it to DiCaprio. DiCaprio was forced to return the Brando Oscar, as the Wrap reported last year, and with a New York Times piece earlier this week bringing the story back to the forefront, the story is making the rounds once more, with Low facing charges for his part in the 1MDB sovereign wealth fund scandal.
The 1MDB scandal involves a sovereign wealth fund administered by the Malaysian government. Low is accused of looting the fund of billions of dollars and is considered a fugitive from justice in Malaysia. Prosecutors believe Low is hiding out in China.
Ironically, Low had a hand in producing The Wolf of Wall Street, DiCaprio’s 2013 movie that was about a massive financial fraud.
Low made a habit of ingratiating himself with celebrities by giving them expensive gifts. In addition to the Oscar, he gifted DiCaprio a Picasso painting, which was also seized. Per Mercury News, he also reportedly gave Kim Kardashian a white Ferrari as a wedding gift when she married Kris Humphries in 2011. It’s unclear if the car has also been seized, but even if it has, the Ferrari lasted much longer than the marriage.
Oh no! Leonardo DiCaprio is being forced to hand over an Oscar amid a fraud case. https://t.co/ZsmdC8b8qn— Entertainment Tonight (@etnow) December 11, 2018
According to the New York Post, Low attended the University of Pennsylvania along with Ivanka Trump. Low once invited Ivanka on a gambling trip to Atlantic City, but the future first daughter declined because, according to Low, “she would never set foot in one of her father’s ‘skeevy’ casinos.”
The New York Times this week described the U.S. government’s efforts to seize items presented by Low as “one of the largest international kleptocracy cases the United States has ever pursued,” with other items including multiple homes, a yacht, and a see-through piano, which was presented to Miranda Kerr.
Oscar trophies occasionally end up on the open market, either following the deaths of Oscar winners, or in cases when the honorees have fallen on hard times and sold them. The Academy, however, has the right to purchase Oscars for $1, so the Brando Oscar will likely end up back in their hands; per the report from the New York Times, it’s currently sitting in a federal warehouse in Texas.