DiCaprio May Have to Return Millions in Artwork
Feds are seizing assets related to Malaysian corruption
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 16, 2017 6:53 AM CDT
Leonardo DiCaprio at the Paris premiere of the documentary film "Before the Flood."   (Christophe Archambault/Pool Photo via AP)

(Newser) – The feds are in the midst of a complex money-laundering investigation tied to Malaysian financiers, but it's got some easy-to-understand ramifications: Leonardo DiCaprio has to return a Picasso and an old Oscar that once belonged to Marlon Brando. As Reuters reports, DiCaprio himself is not charged with any wrongdoing, but he received those items as gifts from people who are. Another unusual Hollywood-esque twist related to the inquiry: The US is trying to seize the rights to the movies Dumb and Dumber To, starring Jim Carrey, and Daddy's Home, starring Will Ferrell, per the Hollywood Reporter. The Justice Department alleges the movies were partially funded with shady money. Last year, they similarly began action to seize the rights of the Wolf of Wall Street, starring DiCaprio, for the same reason.

All of this stems from the 1Malaysia Development Berhad fund, or 1MDB, set up in 2009 by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to stimulate economic development in his country. The Justice Department says fund officials pilfered more than $4.5 billion from it and essentially tried to launder the money in the US through various enterprises, one of which was funding movies. They also lavished gifts on celebrities, which the feds are now trying to recover. The gifts include the $3.28 million Picasso, a $9 million Jean-Michel Basquiat painting, and a $750,000 Diane Arbus photo, all given to DiCaprio; and an 11.72-carat diamond allegedly given to model Miranda Kerr, the wife of Snapchat's Evan Spiegel.

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