It’s part of an Hollywood dirty money probe being carried out by the US government that involves a Malaysian government fund and The Wolf of Wall Street production company.
Leonardo DiCaprio has handed an Academy Award over to the US government as part of his cooperation with a dirty money investigation that ironically involves the producers of scam-plot blockbuster The Wolf of Wall Street.
Fortunately for Leo, it's not the one he spent decades trying to win for his own acting chops (he finally won Best Actor for his lead role in The Reverent last year). It's actually Marlon Brando's 1955 Best Actor Oscar for On the Waterfront. Brando's Oscar was gifted to Leo on the set of The Wolf of Wall Street, and it is the film's production company Red Granite that is implicated in the investigation.
It all sounds pretty complicated, and scandalous. According to Deadline, the US Department of Justice probe is "focused on whether $155M may have moved through a Malaysian government fund known as 1MDB and into Red Granite in 2012". Another Deadline report states that the DoJ are alleging that Red Granite and founder Riza Aziz (who is the stepson of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak) used the scheme "to enrich themselves to the detriment of the Malaysian people".
It has been made clear that Leo was proactive in his cooperation with the investigation. Deadline report the following statement from a spokesperson for Leo: "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… 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."
The statement continues: "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. 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."
Aside from Leo's/Marlon's Oscar, Deadline report that the US government are wanting to "seize all rights to Red Granite films Dumb and Dumber To and Daddy's Home," as well as "real estate, [jewellery], artwork of Van Gogh, Monet, Picasso, Basquiat and Diane Arbus, and movie posters including an original of Fritz Lang's Metropolis valued at $1.3 [million] that apparently still hangs in Red Granite co-founder Riza Aziz's office".
Text Charlotte Gush