KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 5 ― Actor Leonardo DiCaprio has testified before a grand jury as part of the US Department of Justice’s (DoJ) investigation into the 1Malaysia Development Board (1MDB) financial scandal, The Washington Post reported today.
The daily said the actor had made the “secret appearance” before the Washington DC grand jury in recent months but he was not a target of the probe.
It said prosecutors believed DiCaprio could provide useful insights about fugitive financier, Low Taek Jho, and his role in the scandal.
“Grand jury proceedings are secret, so it is unclear exactly what DiCaprio told grand jurors. Also unclear is how authorities got him into and out of the federal courthouse without drawing notice,” said the report.
DiCaprio was among Hollywood A-listers that Jho, who is also known as Jho Low, were reportedly friends with and he had lavished with expensive gifts and parties.
The star was presented with Marlon Brando's best actor Oscar statuette for 1954 film, On the Waterfront, for his birthday and a US$3.2 million (RM13.19 million) Picasso painting, which he is surrendering to US authorities after the scandal broke.
Money allegedly stolen from 1MDB was also used to fund DiCaprio’s 2013 blockbuster, The Wolf of Wall Street, through US production firm Red Granite, which was co-founded by Riza Aziz, the stepson of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
DiCaprio had thanked Low by name when he accepted the Golden Globe for his role in the film.
The Washington Post today also reported that former Fugees rapper Prakazrel “pras” Michel was involved in setting up accounts to help fund Low’s lobbying effort to end the probe and that Michel had hired the owner of an investment firm to press the case with the Trump administration.
It said Michel has denied wrongdoing and that according to prosecutors, the lobbying was unsuccessful.
Penang-born Low, whose whereabouts are unknown, has been charged in a US federal court late last year with theft and money laundering.
Low was also charged in absentia in Malaysia last year with money laundering and financial fraud.
Similar charges have been brought against former executives of 1MDB and US financial institution, Goldman Sachs, that facilitated the sovereign funds bond issues which led to the allegations.
The court has issued arrest warrants for Low, his father and four other former executives of the firms, and will be seeking the aid of international authorities including Interpol to bring them back to face the charges here.
Low has maintained his innocence against all charges.