The 42-year-old has returned the prize gifted by production company Red Granite, who has become the target of a government investigation for their alleged involvement in a money-laundering scheme.
Leonardo DiCaprio has given up an Oscar, but it's not the Best Actor trophy he won for his role in 2016's "The Revenant". The 42-year-old actor was gifted with Marlon Brando's Academy Award by Red Granite Pictures, who helped finance his movie "The Wolf of Wall Street", a few years ago.
However, DiCaprio had to return Brando's Best Actor statuette as well as some artwork he got from Red Granite after the production company, just like DiCaprio's character in the 2013 Martin Scorsese-directed flick, became the target of a government investigation for their alleged involvement in a Malaysian money-laundering scheme.
The Department of Justice has asserted that tens of millions of dollars Red Granite used to produce films such as "Dumb and Dumber To" and "Daddy's Home" are tangled to foreign corruption. In legal docs, it's also claimed that some of the artwork Red Granite gifted to DiCaprio was purchased with the alleged embezzled money.
Authorities from the U.S. Department of Justice suspect that Red Granite co-founder Riza Aziz may have helped his stepfather, Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, embezzle $4.5 billion from a political development scheme. A portion of those misappropriated funds were used to support the production house and subsequently back "The Wolf of Wall Street".
In addition, the U.S. government believes that the laundered money was also used to finance "the co-conspirators' lavish lifestyles, including purchases of artwork and jewelry, the acquisition of luxury real estate and luxury yachts, the payment of gambling expenses, and the hiring of musicians and celebrities to attend parties."
The said multimillion-dollar artworks include a Picasso painting, a photograph by Diane Arbus and a Jean-Michel Basquiat collage which were supposedly gifted to DiCaprio by Red Granite's purported financier Jho Low. A spokesperson for DiCaprio said that the actor had accepted the art with the intention of auctioning them off to raise money for his charitable foundation.
As of now, DiCaprio has no plans to forfeit the money he received for his work on "The Wolf of Wall Street", but his spokesperson noted that the actor intends to offer the return of any "gifts or donations" under speculation with "the aid and instruction of the government."