U.S. Government Seizes Picasso Work Given To Leonardo DiCaprio In Money Laundering Case
A Picasso painting gifted to Leonardo DiCaprio is being seized by the U.S. government, along with half a billion dollars in assets stolen from an investment fund.
U.S. DOJ SEIZES HALF A BILLION IN STOLEN ASSETS
The fund was established by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in 2009 to promote economic development, called the 1Malaysia Development Berhad fund, or 1MDB. The filing was U.S. Justice Department’s latest step in the case over the alleged conspiracy to launder money from 1MDB.
They claim that more than $4.5 billion was stolen from the fund. 1MDB says it is not party to the civil lawsuit. “We simply will not allow the United States to be a place where corrupt individuals can expect to hide assets and lavishly spend money that should be used for the benefit of citizens of other nations,” said acting assistant attorney general Kenneth Blanco.
Razak has denied taking any money for personal gain, despite the reported $700 million traced to bank accounts allegedly in his name by investigators. In response to the lawsuit, a spokesperson for Razak shown concern for “the unnecessary and gratuitous naming of certain matters and individuals that are only relevant to domestic political manipulation and interference… This suggests a motivation that goes beyond the objective of seizing assets.”
The U.S. named Malaysian financier Jho Low in the suit, claiming he stole more than $400 million and used the money to gift his associates, including DiCaprio, with luxurious goods and gambling money. The Picasso gifted to the actor is worth $3.2 million. DiCaprio has not been accused of any crime, nor has Low been charged with anything.
In addition to the painting, the rights to three films are also being called on by the Justice Department – The Wolf of Wall Street, Dumb and Dumber To, and Daddy’s Home. All three were produced by Razak’s stepson’s production company Red Granite.
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