PETALING JAYA: Leonardo DiCaprio is now in an “awkward and potentially legally-perilous situation” because of his ties to Wolf of Wall Street producers and controversial businessman Low Taek Jho (Jho Low).
According to The Hollywood Reporter (THR), the Oscar-winning actor was referred to as “Hollywood Actor 1” in a suit filed by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) on Wednesday pertaining to misappropriation of 1MDB funds.
The entertainment publication reported that the DoJ had noted that DiCaprio went gambling at the Venetian casino, Las Vegas in 2012 along with Low, Riza Aziz – who was also named in the lawsuit – and Joey McFarland.
Riza and McFarland co-founded Red Granite Pictures which produced the movie that was based on Jordan Belfort, a stockbroker who engaged in rampant corruption and fraud.
The 136-page court papers submitted by the DoJ, specifically mentioned how Low had also gambled for approximately seven days at the Venetian Casino in Las Vegas after US$11 million – from funds allegedly siphoned from 1MDB – were deposited into his account at the casino during the same trip in 2012.
DiCaprio, Low, Riza and McFarland had also apparently used money from Low’s account while in Las Vegas, with DoJ records showing a total withdrawal of US$1.15 million in one day.
THR also reported that DiCaprio’s ties with Low began long before Wolf of Wall Street was in the works, referring to reports that in 2010 the duo were seen partying in New York clubs and also watching a match at the FIFA World Cup tournament in South Africa.
Since 2010, Low and DiCaprio have been known to attend each other’s birthday parties.
“Low had a notorious multi-million dollar 30th birthday bash in Las Vegas in 2012, where DiCaprio reportedly rapped onstage with Busta Rhymes.
“The following year, DiCaprio celebrated his 39th birthday at a swanky New York eatery called Tao Downtown, where Low was reportedly among the big spenders.
“As a gift, Low bought DiCaprio the best actor Oscar statuette Marlon Brando won in 1955 for On the Waterfront, reported to have cost some US$600,000,” THR reported.
In a separate story, THR said that Red Granite had rented a luxury yacht named Indulgence of Poole, and used it as its office while docked in Cannes, for the annual film festival in the French city last May.
Red Granite reportedly used “the office” for holding sales meetings for its next film, Papillon, a remake of a 1973 film which had starred Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman.