A journalistic investigation showed that the famous actor Leonardo DiCaprio and socialite Kim Kardashian were questioned by the FBI as part of the investigation into the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) fund.. Federal authorities investigated the link these celebrities had with financier Jho Low, who is currently on the run.
The 1MDB was an investment fund sponsored by the Malaysian government, which was born in 2009 with the aim of boosting the country’s economic development, but ended up becoming one of the biggest corruption scandals of the 21st century, as it allowed billions to be diverted of dollars to bank accounts controlled by Jho Low (architect of the plan) and other collaborators close to the government.
Why was DiCaprio questioned?
Jho Low used his relationships with celebrities to gain a reputation in business and financial circles and to show himself as someone successful and influential. So much so that he gave extravagant gifts to celebrities and went out to parties with them.
And one of the people with whom he came to establish an occasional link is with Leonardo DiCaprio, which is why the actor was called to testify. The incident was described in a report by Bloomberg.
According to the newspaper article, citing official documents, DiCaprio was questioned in an office on Sunset Boulevard in April 2018. An FBI special agent, a Treasury investigator and three Justice Department prosecutors began their questioning of the movie star with mild questions. They talked about his acting career, his charity work and his production company, Appian Way.
Then the interview turned to Low, whom DiCaprio had met in 2010. As Bloomberg relates, Low had showered the actor with gifts, had partyed with him all over the world and had financed the film in 2013 The wolf of Wall Streetstarring the American.
DiCaprio told agents that the relationship began at a nightclub. Those who introduced him to him had told him that Low was the “Mozart of the business world.”
the article of Bloomberg mentions that to As an FBI agent presented DiCaprio with emails and documents, the actor’s memory “became less clear.” Even DiCaprio was sure that his bosses had investigated Low before working with him on The wolf of Wall Streetbut he did not remember what they had found in the investigation.
The agents collected thousands of BlackBerry messages and emails between the two and their partners and produced a document containing all the gifts Low had given DiCaprio in five years and the $6 million he pledged to donate to his charity.
According to the FBI investigation, the movie star introduced Low as “my man,” and the investor called DiCaprio “Ldogg.” His mothers knew each other. DiCaprio put Low in touch with his friends from the world of art, technology and real estate. And the two brainstormed a $1 billion mega-fund for more movies, a Warner Bros. theme park in Asia with attractions based on DiCaprio movies and the development of an eco-resort in Belize. “I worked for him,” DiCaprio later testified before a grand jury, “and that business also translates into being sociable. So we saw each other more and there was more interaction.”
DiCaprio acknowledged to the FBI that he wasn’t quite sure where Low’s wealth came from and felt it was up to his then-manager and his lawyer to investigate him. In addition, he said that his publicist, Shawn Sachs, had hired someone to investigate Low’s background, but that he had not “read it thoroughly.”
“Usually, DiCaprio relies on his representatives to read the reports and give him the go-ahead to continue working with someone. In this case, his representatives gave him the green light to continue working with Low”the FBI agents wrote, Bloomberg said.
The article also reported that during a meeting with prosecutors and FBI agents, DiCaprio’s lawyers asked the Justice Department to take all possible steps to minimize the actor’s connection to upcoming forfeiture lawsuits that the government may file.
Why was Kardashian questioned?
Another of the celebrities that Low approached was Kardashian. She was questioned by the FBI in February 2019 and had to answer how he had met Low, with whom he had gone out to a party with him in Las Vegas.
The Malaysian businessman had given his fiancé at the time, NBA player Kris Humphries, $100,000 for their 2011 wedding fireworks. Years later, he offered her a work by the painter Basquiat, prompting her then-husband, Kanye West, I asked him for a Monet.
Bloomberg added, based on the FBI documents, that Kardashian also recounted an episode in which she and a group of friends (including producers of The wolf of Wall Street) were playing with Low in a Las Vegas casino.
The 1MDB case
So great was the shock wave of the 1MDB that the former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak, is serving a prison sentence for that scandal. On July 28, 2020, Razak was found guilty of abuse of power, three counts of obstruction of Justice, three counts of money laundering, totaling seven counts by the international court.