An anti-corruption NGO has urged Oscar-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio to “do the right thing” and pay back his earnings from The Wolf of Wall Street should the US Justice Department find that they are linked to a multi-billion dollar 1MDB Malaysian corruption scandal.
DiCaprio earned at least $25 million from the 2013 film.
“If he knows these are corrupt funds, we would very much like to see him return them,” Samantha Grant of Transparency International, a Berlin-based non-governmental organisation that looks to combat global corruption and prevent criminal activities arising from it, told hollywoodreporter.com.
“If that money is found by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to be corrupt, to not give it back sort of says that money that was due to go to the Malaysian public is sitting in Leonardo DiCaprio’s account,” Grant added.
On October 18, DiCaprio issued his first statement concerning his ties to those allegedly connected to the scandal, including his The Wolf of Wall Street producers Riza Aziz and Joey McFarland, who are co-founders of Red Granite, which funded the Martin Scorsese-directed film, and controversial Malaysian businessman Jho Low.
“Several months ago in July, 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 statement on Tuesday claimed. “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.”