In Malaysia fund scandal, DiCaprio returns Oscar won by Brando

"Thursday's filing also sought to seize the assets of two other Red Granite produced films which investigators allege were financed by money from the 1MDB fund - the 2014 comedy Dumb and Dumber To" starring Jim Carrey, and 2015 comedy "Daddy's Home" starring Will Ferrell.

US authorities, in civil complaints, have accused Malaysian financier Jho Low of laundering more than $400 million stolen from 1MDB through an account in the United States, where he lavished his associates, including DiCaprio, with money to gamble and luxury goods.

According to last year's federal court filing, the US government also believes that the laundered funds also funded "the co-conspirators' lavish lifestyles, including purchases of artwork and jewelry, the acquisition of luxury real estate and luxury yachts, the payment of gambling expenses, and the hiring of musicians and celebrities to attend parties". The prime minister's office, in a statement early on Friday, said it was "concerned by the unnecessary and gratuitous naming of certain matters and individuals that are only relevant to domestic political manipulation and interference".

"Today?s complaints reveal another chapter of this multi-year, multi-billion-dollar fraud scheme, bringing the total identified stolen proceeds to $4.5 billion", acting US Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco said in a statement.

It's been revealed by multiple sources that DiCaprio has been inadvertently caught up in some Jordan Belfort-esque trouble, which has resulted in the actor voluntarily handing over to the government Brando's Oscar, a gift to him from Red Granite.

The US Justice Department is now said to be seeking £422 million in assets, from real estate and jewellery to expensive artwork - we're talking Van Gogh, Monet, Picasso and Basquiat.

DiCaprio's spokesman said the star accepted the gifts to raise funds in an auction for his environmental foundation.

The 42-year-old actor, who won an Academy Award himself for his role in 2016's The Revenant, was gifted the rare statuette a few years back by production company Red Granite - who helped finance The Wolf of Wall Street and passed Brando's prize on to him upon that film's wrapping.

"Malaysian financier and art collector Jho Low, an associate of DiCaprio, also had considerable influence on the fund, and has been the subject of investigation for its misuse of money -though the government complaint repeatedly mentions that Low had 'no official position'". It said he did so before the U.S. government on Thursday filed a new complaint that cited the Red Granite production company behind "The Wolf of Wall Street". The production company is accused of laundering money from 1MDB fund that is set up by the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak, in 2009 for the economic development.

Low, in an emailed statement sent via a representative, said the Justice Department (DOJ) continued its "inappropriate efforts" to seize assets.

The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) need not consult Malaysian authorities about the 1MDB case as investigations are confined to its jurisdiction, former attorney-general Abu Talib Othman said.

  • Zachary Reyes