From Daily Mail
The Department of Justice believes multiple donations to Leonardo DiCaprio’s foundation came from a Malaysian money laundering scandal
Malaysian playboy and businessman Jho Low, 35, was a friend of the recent Oscar winner
Low is alleged to have used stolen money from a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund called 1MDB to spend at DiCaprio’s lavish charity auctions
Includes spending $3million, with Joey McFarland on marked-up bottles of champagne in 2013
He then used $1.1million, allegedly from the 1MBD fund, to buy artwork by Ed Ruscha and Mark Ryden at an auction benefiting the foundation
Scandal is also tied to DiCaprio’s The Wolf of Wall Street movie
Film was funded by Red Granite Pictures – set up by stepson of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak who is at the center of the inquiry
U.S. government moved to seize $1 billion of assets bought with money it said was stolen from 1MDB by people close to Najib
Around $3 billion is believed to have been siphoned from the 1MDB fund
After watching a short film about the dangers of overfishing, a number of wealthy guests who purportedly support saving the environment were flown in via helicopter to attend the third annual fundraiser in Saint-Tropez for the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation last month where they dined on whole sea bass.
Millions in donations to the Hollywood A-lister’s eco-foundation have allegedly come from a Malaysian money laundering scandal, which saw more than $3billion siphoned from a sovereign wealth fund called 1MDB, the Department of Justice claims in a complaint filed with the U.S. District Court on July 20.
DiCaprio, who has spent time crusading around the world in private jets for the environment, is not the direct target in the complaint. But he is referenced in the 136-page document as ‘Hollywood Actor 1’, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The complaint sheds a new light on how the LDF has benefited directly from DiCaprio’s relationship and friendship with Malaysian playboy and businessman Jho Low – who is one of the key players at the center of the money laundering scandal.
Low, who is notorious for his flashy stunts such as sending 23 bottles of Cristal champagne to Lindsay Lohan for her 23rd birthday, is alleged to have used stolen money from 1MDB to spend at DiCaprio’s lavish charity auctions.
Low, together with his associate Joey McFarland, a former party booker for Paris Hilton, reportedly helped raise more than $3million for the charity by buying marked-up bottles of champagne in 2013.
The LDF’s global fundraising chairman, Milutin Gatsby, was not made available to comment about the allegations, though he attended the pricey gala last month.
Indeed, it is speculated that Mr Gatsby is not his real name and is in fact an affectation inspired by the classic F. Scott Fitzgerald novel The Great Gatsby – about a wealthy Long Island bootlegger.
In 2013, DiCaprio starred in a lavish movie adaptation of the novel, starring his friend Tobey Maguire.
Low, who graduated from the Wharton School of Business, is also accused of using $1.1million from the 1MBD fund to buy up artwork by Ed Ruscha and Mark Ryden at a Christie’s auction benefiting the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, LDF.
He also turned up to DiCaprio’s celebrity-filled bash in Saint-Tropez last year, alongside the likes of Harvey Weinstein and David Geffen, where he donated a 1982 Roy Lichtenstein sculpture, worth around $700,000.
But Low never got the chance to see who bought his donation.
Instead, he fled international investigators to fly to Taiwan, which does not have an extradition treaty with the US.
It is not the first time Leo’s charity has come under scrutiny.
The LDF was founded by the actor in 1998 to protect the environment and the ‘last remaining wild places on earth’.
It has since raised tens of millions of dollars towards its causes through DiCaprio’s glamorous charity auctions. The most recent event, held last month in France, raised $45million on it’s own.
But some have criticized Leo for flying quests half way around the world to attend a party aimed at saving the planet.
Last month, the actor flew a bevy of lingerie models into St. Tropez and sticking them on a luxury 300ft yacht.
Joining them for the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation Annual Gala To Fund Climate And Biodiversity Projects – to give it its full title – were the likes of, Robert De Niro, Scarlett Johansson, Jonah Hill, Bradley Cooper, Bono and Naomi Campbell.
Models Constance Jablonski, Joan Smalls, Doutzen Kroes, Lily Donaldson and Anja Rubik were all spotted at the pricey event.
PR man Matthew Freud, 52, was also scene strolling aboard the yacht – the first time he has been seen publicly since his father, the late broadcaster Sir Clement, was revealed as a pedophile who sexually abused teenage girls.
Tickets started at $11,778 for the July 20 event while the bash raised further funds by auctioning prizes given by his Hollywood friends, including film producer Harvey Weinstein, director Martin Scorsese and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
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