You can file this under the heading of life imitating art
On Thursday the Justice Department seized a Picasso and Basquiat paintings given to Leonardo DiCaprio, as well as rights to two Hollywood film comedies, in complaint filings to claw back $540 million they say was “stolen” from the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund, 1MDB.
The high-end art work was given to DiCaprio by Jho Low — a Malaysian financier — who the feds charged with laundering more than $400 million stolen from 1MDB through an US account.
Low used the ill-gotten gains to fund a film production studio called Red Granite to live the life depicted in DiCaprio’s “Wolf of Wall Street” where he and his friends used the money to pay for lavish parties, gambling and yachts.
The DOJ’s filing also sought to claw back the assets of two other Red Granite films, which the federal investigators say were financed by money from the 1MDB fund.
“Dumb and Dumber To” starring Jim Carrey in the 2014 comedy, and 2015 comedy “Daddy’s Home” starring Will Ferrell.
Last year, the DOJ also tried to seize the rights to “The Wolf of Wall Street” although the Red Granite Pictures said on Thursday it was “actively engaged in discussions with the Justice Department aimed at resolving these civil cases and is fully cooperating.”
“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,” the actor’s people said in statement on Thursday. “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,'” the statement added.
Low also had connections with a former Goldman Sachs Far East director Tim Leissner, who helped the government set up the sovereign wealth fund and profited from its many bond offerings to allegedly funds airports, roads and other infrastructure projects.
Leissner also had a Hollywood connection with his second wife Kimora Lee Leissner, the ex-wife of Russell Simmons, the cofounder of Def Jam Records. Leissner resigned from Goldman in 2016 has been barred from the securities industry in Malaysia for 10 years.