Life is imitating art imitating life as Leonardo DiCaprio has been dragged into an embezzlement scandal stemming from the production of The Wolf of Wall Street, a movie about, well, a man committing financial fraud.
The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a complaint against several financiers of the Oscar nominated film, alleging that millions of dollars were embezzled during the production of the Martin Scorsese movie.
United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch is calling the complaint the “largest single action” in the history of the DOJ’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative with the filing outlines asset seizures of more than $1 billion. The complaint is alleging that the film was financed, in part, by money misappropriated from a Malaysian investment fund called 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
The documents claims the “lead actor in The Wolf of Wall Street,” which refers to DiCaprio as “Hollywood Actor 1,” went gambling in Las Vegas’ Venetian casino in 2012 with Malaysian businessman Jho Low and Red Granite co-founders Riza Aziz and Joey McFarland using Aziz’s account, which housed funds siphoned from the 1MDB investment. According to the complaint, $1.15 million was allegedly withdrawn in one day and that DiCaprio had witnessed some of gambling of the embezzled money.
The DOJ also points out DiCaprio’s close association with the relevant parties, citing the actor’s Golden Globes speech in which he “thanked ‘the entire production team,’ singling out in particular ‘Joey, Riz, and Jho,’ whom he characterized as ‘collaborators’ on the film.”
The same day the complaint was filed, DiCaprio threw a party in St. Tropez, France for the rich and famous, raising $45 million for the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation to be put towards environmental research and awareness. Days later, DiCaprio was spotted leaving town with his close friends — including actor Tobey Maguire — on a private jet.