DOJ Moves To Seize DiCaprio's Picasso, Rights To "Dumb and Dumber To" As Part Of 1MDB Case

As part of the ongoing money-laundering probe of Malaysia's sovereign wealth fund, 1MDB, which is perhaps best known for Goldman's enabling and participation in what may end up being one of the world's biggest, multi-billion, cross-border embezzlement schemes, on Thursday the DOJ moved to seize a Picasso and Basquiat paintings given to Leonardo DiCaprio, as well as rights to two Hollywood comedies, in complaints filed to recover about $540 million they say was "stolen" from 1MDB (with Goldman's help).

The DOJ filing was the latest in a long series of legal actions tied to money laundering at the fund set up by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in 2009 - who still remains in power - to promote economic development. In the complaint filed overnight, the department alleged that more than $4.5 billion was taken from 1MDB by high-level fund officials and their associates. Fraud allegations against 1MDB go back to 2009 and the fund is subject to money laundering investigations in at least six countries, including Switzerland and Singapore.

"This money financed the lavish lifestyles of the alleged co-conspirators at the expense and detriment of the Malaysian people," Kenneth Blanco, acting assistant AG said in a statement. The name of Goldman Sachs, which participated and directly profited from many of the 1MDB transactions,  was oddly missing from today's filing.

Najib has denied taking money from 1MDB or any other entity for personal gain, after it was reported that investigators traced nearly $700 million to bank accounts that were allegedly in his name.

And while we won't hold our breath to learn why Goldman's involvement was mysteriously dropped, Reuters reported that Leonardo DiCaprio has turned over an Oscar won by Marlon Brando to U.S. investigators probing the 1MDB money laundering.  DiCaprio also initiated the return of other, unidentified items that the actor said he accepted as gifts for a charity auction and which originated from people connected to the 1MDB wealth fund, they said in a statement.

Some background: last July, the Red Granite Hollywood production company was accused by the DOJ of using $100 million that prosecutors said had been diverted from the 1MDB fund to finance DiCaprio's 2013 film "The Wolf of Wall Street." Last October, DiCaprio said he was cooperating with the probe and would return any gifts or donations if they were found to have come from questionable sources.

"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," Thursday's statement said. "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.

Authorities also accused Jho Low, a Malaysian financier, of laundering more than $400 million stolen from the fund through an account in the United States, where he and his friends used the money to pay for lavish parties, gambling and yachts. Despite the civil allegations, U.S. authorities have not charged Low with any crime. The DOJ said that in 2014 Low used $3.2 million diverted from a 1MDB bond sale to buy a Picasso painting for DiCaprio. "Dear Leonardo DiCaprio, Happy belated Birthday! This gift is for you," a friend of Low's wrote in a note.

Low also used $9.2 million diverted from 1MDB bond sales to buy a collage made by the New York artist Jean-Michel Basquiat which was also given to DiCaprio. DiCaprio and Low signed a note in March 2014 absolving the star of "any liability whatsoever resulting directly or indirectly from these art-work," according to the filings.

It was not clear from DiCaprio's statement whether he had already returned the Picasso and Basquiat paintings, and a Diane Arbus photograph that was also listed in the DOJ legal filing.

Separately, the DOJ filing also sought to seize the assets of two other Red Granite produced films which investigators allege were financed by money from the 1MDB fund - the 2014 comedy "Dumb and Dumber To" starring Jim Carrey, 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 LA-based Red Granite Pictures said in a statement on Thursday it was "actively engaged in discussions with the Justice Department aimed at resolving these civil cases and is fully cooperating."


847328_3527 NoDebt Thu, 06/15/2017 - 18:01 Permalink

These crooks are scared out of their wits now that Trump/Sessons are there.Holder and Lowrenta and (needless to say) Comey would look the other way for sure. They are too busy criticizing police departments and white folks and Comey too busy leaking top secret info the WaPo and New York Slimes.

In reply to by NoDebt

Croesus BTFDemocracy Thu, 06/15/2017 - 18:18 Permalink

@ No Debt:

Modern art, imho, is garbage, just pure crap. Promoted by (((Tribesmen))), packaged and sold to gullible buyers. Coincidentally, the prices of good paintings, including 17th century Dutch known, lesser artists have taken a hit.

(((Tribe Tactic))) - Push buyers towards garbage, so demand for good stuff falls. Buy the good stuff, for peanuts. Buy up the supply, and then kick-in the promotion.

In reply to by BTFDemocracy

Endgame Napoleon Croesus Fri, 06/16/2017 - 07:56 Permalink

Traditional art skills have been deemphasized in art schools for decades, but students started teaching themselves and/or attending ateliers (if wealthy enough) AFTER finishing art degrees that focused more on theory. It does not have much to do with Jews. It was the general thrust of art for decades, although some great artists were Jews. Most of the modernists and the conceptual artists are/were not Jewish. Even though traditional art is amazing, there are many modern masters. As with traditional art, it depends on the artist. A lot of people just rode the modern trends, not producing anything that impressive, and the same thing is true with traditional art. Most people who do artwork, whether traditional or modern, really more like decorative artists, which is fine. The decorative arts are important. The problem is that people are encouraged to believe that everyone can be a Picasso. That is not how art was taught in the past. They had guilds. It was a practical trade for most.

In reply to by Croesus

any_mouse Thu, 06/15/2017 - 17:48 Permalink

Whoa! They are eating their one of their own?

The same DOJ that cannot investigate, much less prosecute Clintons or Fast and Furious?

Somebody higher up the food chain wants that Picasso.