Leonardo DiCaprio Testifies in Money Laundering Case That Funneled $30M to Obama

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio found himself in a real “Wolf on Wall Street” scenario, as he testified in federal court on Monday morning in a trial that involves international money laundering, bribery, a rap artist, and a former president.

Prakazrel “Pras” Michel, well known as a founding member hip-hop group The Fugees, has been accused of funneling money from a fugitive Malaysian financier to Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, via straw donors.

Fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low, has been accused of masterminding the international money laundering and bribery scheme that stole billions of dollars from a Malaysian state investment fund called 1MDB.

So where was DiCaprio tie into this mess? He’s known Low for YEARS. In fact, Low was one of the primary finances of the blockbuster movie, “The Wolf of Wall Street,” in which DiCaprio played the lead.

Fortune reports:

According to the charges, Michel essentially became a conduit for Low’s pilfered millions and his attempts to influence the U.S. government. Prosecutors allege that from June to November 2012, Low directed more than $21.6 million to be moved from foreign entities to Michel’s accounts in order to funnel money into the 2012 presidential election. They say Michel then paid about 20 straw donors and conduits so they could make the donations in their names and conceal where the money actually came from, according to the indictment.

DiCaprio testified that he met and befriended Low at a birthday party in Las Vegas in 2010. “I understood him to be a huge businessman with many different connections in Abu Dhabi and Malaysia,” he said.

In addition to his relationship with Low, DiCaprio said he had known the defendant Michel since sometime in the 1990s when they met backstage after a Fugees concert.

Low was known for hosting lavish star-studded parties and group vacations on his private jet to events like the World Cup in Brazil….Michel was present on some of these trips, DiCaprio said.

The actor explained that he had Low’s funding vetted very carefully before stepping into a business relationship with the man.

“I was given the green light by my team as well as my studio,” DiCaprio said. “He was a legitimate business person wanting to invest in the movie.”

He did also recall what he called a “casual conversation” with Low, in which the financier mentioned that he intended to donate a large amount, somewhere between $20-$30 million, to Obama’s re-election campaign.

“It was a significant sum — something to the tune of $20-30 million,” DiCaprio testified. “I said, ‘Wow that’s a lot of money!’”


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