Leonardo DiCaprio has humbled himself with a return of several works of art worth millions of dollars to the US Justice Department.
The items he returned to the government include a Picasso painting and an Oscar statuette which previously belonged to Marlon Brando, the American actor, film director and political activist who died at the age of 80 on 1 July, 2004.
Image: Leonardo DiCaprio
Despite the myth surrounding DiCaprio’s Brando Oscar as explained by The Wrap, its return is a result of America’s ongoing money laundering investigation which involves Najib Razak, a Malaysian prime minister.
The 42-year-old actor received Marlon Brando’s best actor statuette for 1954’s “On the Waterfront” as a 38th birthday gift.
He [DiCaprio] was barely three months on the set of “Wolf of Wall Street,” when the item, among many others, were received. The movie turned out a major commercial success despite its morally ambiguous depiction of events, explicit sexual content, use of hard drugs and foul language. It was also criticized for promoting animal cruelty.
A report from Chicago Tribune confirms the Titanic actor received his “controversial” Oscar from a group of friends at Red Granite Pictures, the company which produced “Wolf of Wall Street.”
In 2014, the blockbuster got Oscar nominations for “Best Actor” and “Best Picture (Producer)” in DiCaprio’s honor, but the first prize went to Mathew McConaughey‘s “Dallas Texas Club.”
In addition to several other expensive mementos he received from his “business associates,” DiCaprio has given back the Academy Award as expected by the American government for his alleged involvement in a Malaysian money-laundering scam valued at $3.5 billion.
The Wolf of Wall Street tells a story about Belfort’s experience as a career stockbroker in New York City whose firm Stratton Oakmont got involved in high-level corruption and fraud on Wall Street. The crime which blossomed at first, later brought his downfall.
There are speculations that Red Granite co-founder Riza Aziz may have played a role to assist his stepfather, Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, launder money worth $4.5 billion.
Authorities from the U.S. Department of Justice suspects the source of funds to be a political development scheme in the country.
Part of this “stolen money” was reportedly used to sponsor the movie production company [Red Granite] as well as bankroll “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
The misappropriated funds were also used to promote “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 US government claims in a 2016 federal court filing.
DiCaprio’s list of artworks which he received from Jho Low [Red Granite’s alleged financier] include a Picasso painting “Nature Morte au Crane de Taureau” valued above $3m, “Redman One” which is valued above $9m, a $750,000-worth photograph by Diane Arbus and a Jean-Michel Basquiat collage, excluding Brando’s Oscar.
A spokesman for the actor said he accepted the art works with the intention of auctioning off the chef-d’oeuvres to raise money for his charitable foundation — never for his personal collection.
Although the US Justice Department listed those items in a 250-page forfeiture complaint which it filed last week, DiCaprio’s reps claim his paintings and pictures had been surrendered long before the government initiative.
Image: Leonardo DiCaprio
“Last July, upon hearing of the government’s civil action against certain parties involved in the making of The Wolf of Wall Street, Mr. DiCaprio’s representatives – working under his instruction – initiated contact with the Department of Justice,” reps for DiCaprio said in a statement.
“This effort was to determine if there were any gifts or charitable donations originating from the parties named in the civil complaint, and to offer the return of any such gifts or donations with the aid and instruction of the government.
“Prior to the government’s filing of the civil pleading today, Mr. DiCaprio initiated return of these items, which were received and accepted by him for the purpose of being included in an annual charity auction to benefit his eponymous foundation,” the statement adds.
“He has also returned an Oscar originally won by Marlon Brando, which was given to Mr. DiCaprio as a set gift by Red Granite to thank him for his work on The Wolf of Wall Street.
“Mr. DiCaprio is grateful for the support of the government in this effort, and continues to hope that justice is done in this matter.”
Marlon Brando is remembered for his role as Vito Corleone in The Godfather, a movie which was considered, even by critics, as one of the best ever.
The man, Brando was ranked as the fourth-greatest movie star among male artists who made their screen debuts in or before 1950.
He was named alongside Marilyn Monroe and Charlie Chaplin as the only three professional actors in Time magazine’s 1999 list of the 100 Most Important People of the Century.