PETALING JAYA: Hollywood A-lister, Robert De Niro said he is aware that his son had been involved in the sale of two New York properties worth a total of US$55 million (RM227 million) to Low Taek Jho.
According to The Hollywood Reporter (THR), he acknowledged that his son Raphael was the agent who facilitated the deal for the controversial Malaysian businessman linked to the 1MDB scandal.
The Goodfellas actor said he was aware of the scandal involving the alleged embezzlement of funds from the state-owned investment firm, but denied having any links to it.
“I don’t care whether my name is associated with it. I didn’t do anything,” De Niro was quoted as saying by THR.
When told that Jynwel Foundation, which is run by Low, had made a sizeable donation to his Tribeca Film Institute, De Niro said he would return the money if necessary.
The 73-year-old Oscar winner said he did not know how Raphael’s friendship with Low, who is more popularly known as Jho Low, had started.
De Niro also confirmed that he had met Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, on multiple occasions, the report said.
On April 16, 2010, De Niro and other A-list stars, like Jamie Foxx and Charlize Theron, attended a star-studded event at the St Regis Hotel in New York to honour Najib and Rosmah. The prime minister and his wife were there to receive the inaugural International Peace and Harmony Award presented by the Business Council for International Understanding.
According to the THR report, the two New York properties were the same ones involved in the United States’ Department of Justice (DoJ) civil suits pertaining to 1MDB.
De Niro also said that there had been talks for him to star in a film produced by Red Granite, owned by Riza Aziz, but nothing materialised.
He added that he met Jho Low at the latter’s birthday bash in Las Vegas, in 2012, and said that Jho Low had initially voiced interest in funding a Martin Scorsese film, The Irishman, with De Niro as the lead actor.
“But that was just talk and a long time ago.”
Prior to this, another Oscar winner, Leonardo DiCaprio, who acted in Wolf of Wall Street produced by Red Granite, was also linked to 1MDB.
On July 20, DoJ filed suits to seize assets worth US$1 billion which were allegedly misappropriated from 1MDB funds.