TIME Department of Justice

Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation Says It’s Cooperating With Feds Over The Wolf of Wall Street Probe

Leonardo DiCaprio looks on prior to speaking on stage during the Paris premiere of the documentary film "Before the Flood" on Oct. 17, 2016 at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris.
CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT—AFP/Getty Images Leonardo DiCaprio looks on prior to speaking on stage during the Paris premiere of the documentary film "Before the Flood" on Oct. 17, 2016 at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris.

"The Wolf of Wall Street" may have been made with laundered money, feds say

An organization created by Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio said Tuesday that it is fully cooperating with a federal investigation into whether The Wolf of Wall Street blockbuster was partially funded through laundered money from Malaysia.

The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, a group focused on protecting wildlife and safeguarding the environment, issued its first statement since the U.S. Department of Justice in July announced its probe into a possible international conspiracy that allegedly involves a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund. Federal officials claim top executives of the fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad—which was created by the government of Malaysia to promote economic growth in the country—misappropriated more than $3.5 billion.

Some of the purportedly stolen proceeds were allegedly used to fund the production of The Wolf of Wall Street, Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell said. DiCaprio starred in the 2013 film and helped produce it.

“Several months ago in July, Mr. DiCaprio first learned through press reports of the government’s civil action against some of the parties involved in the making of The Wolf of Wall Street,” a Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation 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.”

“All contact was initiated by Mr. DiCaprio and LDF,” the statement added. “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. Out of respect for its ongoing investigation, which has touched many charities, hospitals and individuals, who may have been unwitting recipients of funds now in question, Mr. DiCaprio has refrained from public comment throughout this period of investigation. He will continue to limit his statements on this matter.”

The statement comes a few days after a rainforest charity slammed DiCaprio during a news conference over the actor’s alleged ties with officials involved in the Malaysia corruption scandal.

Tap to read full story

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com


Dear TIME Reader,

As a regular visitor to TIME.com, we are sure you enjoy all the great journalism created by our editors and reporters. Great journalism has great value, and it costs money to make it. One of the main ways we cover our costs is through advertising.

The use of software that blocks ads limits our ability to provide you with the journalism you enjoy. Consider turning your Ad Blocker off so that we can continue to provide the world class journalism you have become accustomed to.

The TIME Team