Leonardo DiCaprio testifies before jury in US probe into 1MDB


  • Nation
  • Saturday, 5 Jan 2019

PETALING JAYA: Actor Leonardo DiCaprio (pic) made a secret appearance before a grand jury recently to testify as part of the US Justice Department's investigation into 1MDB, reported the Washington Post.

According to sources close to the case, grand jury proceedings are secret, so it was unclear what DiCaprio told grand jurors and how authorities got him into and out of the federal courthouse without drawing notice.

The report added that prosecutors consider DiCaprio a witness who can provide useful insights about Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho or better known as Jho Low who is alleged to have laundered billions of dollars from the investment fund and then financed a lobbying campaign to end the investigation.

DiCaprio is, however, not a target of the probe.

A US Department of Justice (DoJ) spokesman and a representative for DiCaprio declined to comment.

DiCaprio's spokesman has in the past said the actor was cooperating with the probe and was "entirely supportive of all efforts to assure that justice is done in this matter."

The US DoJ had launched a probe following claims that stolen Malaysian public money was laundered through the US financial system, and filed lawsuits seeking some US$1.7bil (RM7bil) in assets allegedly purchased with the cash.

In its civil suits, the department said more than US$4.5bil (RM18.5bil) was stolen from 1MDB by high-level officials at the fund and their associates between 2009 and 2015.

Tens of millions of dollars in stolen money was used in 2012 by former prime ministerr Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's stepson Riza Aziz, an aspiring film producer, to fund the Hollywood film The Wolf of Wall Street, starring DiCaprio.

Hundreds of millions were used, mainly by Riza and Low, to purchase high-end real estate in Beverly Hills, New York and London, a Monet painting for US$35mil (RM144mil), a Van Gogh for US$5.5mil (RM22.6mil), a US$35mil (RM144mil) Bombardier jet, a US$100mil (RM411mil) stake in EMI Music Publishing, and a US$250mil yacht (RM1bil).

Local police have filed criminal charges against Low and his father over money allegedly stolen from 1MDB.

1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) is a state investment fund which Najib launched in 2009 shortly after becoming Malaysia's prime minister.

Its portfolio has included power plants and other energy assets in Malaysia and the Middle East, and real estate in Kuala Lumpur.

The fund was closely overseen by Najib.