Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio made a secret appearance to testify before a grand jury as part of the US Department of Justice’s (DoJ) investigation into the 1Malaysia Development Board (1MDB) financial scandal.
Prosecutors consider Leonardo DiCaprio as a witness and not a target of the probe.
The actor could provide useful insights about fugitive Low Taek Jho, the Malaysian financier alleged to have pilfered and laundered billions of dollars from the investment fund, and then financed a lobbying campaign to end the investigation, the people said.
Low Taek Jho was charged in a US federal court late last year with theft and money laundering. At the same time he was also charged in absentia in Malaysia last year with money laundering and financial fraud.
The report said that Grand jury proceedings are secret, so it is unclear exactly what did Leonardo DiCaprio tell the grand jurors.
It is also unclear how the authorities got the actor into and out of the federal courthouse without drawing notice.
Spokespersons of both Leonardo DiCaprio’s and the DOJ declined to comment.
In the past, Leonardo DiCaprio’s spokesman had said the actor was cooperating with the probe and was “entirely supportive of all efforts to assure that justice is done in this matter.”
Money allegedly stolen from 1MDB was also used to fund Leonardo 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.
Leonardo DiCaprio had thanked Low Taek Jho by name when he accepted the Golden Globe for his role in the film.
Prosecutors later moved to seize from the actor a Picasso painting they said was purchased with US$3.2 million in stolen funds and given to Leonardo DiCaprio by an associate of Low Taek Jho.