Newly released FBI documents show that federal law enforcement officials grilled Hollywood celebrities Leonardo DiCaprio and Kim Kardashian over their connections to a man at the center of a massive foreign fraud scandal who is now in hiding in communist China.
The scandal is the multi-billion dollar graft scandal at state-fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) that resulted in former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak being sent to prison last year for more than a decade.
Malaysian financier Jho Low helped start the fund in 2009 to allegedly promote economic development for the Asian nation, Reuters reported. The report said that the scandal erupted into the largest kleptocracy investigation ever conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice with at least $4.5 billion stolen from the public fund and moved into offshore accounts with billions more still not accounted for. Malaysia says that Low, who is on the run from U.S. authorities, is hiding in China.
Federal authorities — including FBI agents, IRS officials, and DOJ prosecutors — interviewed DiCaprio in April 2018 and Kardashian in 2019 over their ties to Low, who sought to boost his credibility and image by associating with and giving large financial gifts to some of the world’s biggest stars.
Low financed DiCaprio’s hit 2013 movie “Wolf of Wall Street” after the two met at a nightclub, Bloomberg News reported. When presented with past communications that he had with Low, including emails, DiCaprio claimed that he did not remember writing the messages and that they didn’t sound like something that he would write.
DiCaprio and Low worked together of a variety of business ventures and Low continued to contact DiCaprio even after federal authorities announced that they were seizing his assets. The two men were reportedly so close that their mothers met.
Low and Kardashian first got connected when he paid her $50,000 to appear at a red carpet event in Las Vegas in 2009. Eventually the two partied and gambled together frequently, including an awkward incident where he gifted her hundreds of thousands of dollars of chips after she stayed up and gambled with him in Las Vegas. Kardashian walked out of the casino with a trash bag containing roughly $250,000 in cash.
“Kardashian put the trash bag full of cash in her carry-on bag and boarded a Southwest Airlines flight back to Los Angeles,” FBI agents wrote. She later collected the other $100,000 in cash from the remaining chips that she had after she returned to Las Vegas during a later trip.