Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio on Monday testified in a political corruption trial featuring a 90s hip-hop star and a disgraced Malaysian financier.
According to AFP, Pras Michel, a member of the US musical trio The Fugees, is facing charges for allegations of helping to secretly funnel money from Low Taek Jho — the Malaysian businessman at the heart of the scandal — to influence US politics.
The ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ actor captivated the courtroom Monday, telling the jury about parties thrown by Low — extravagant affairs allegedly funded with money looted from Malaysia´s sovereign wealth fund, known as 1Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB.
DiCaprio, called to testify by the prosecution, is not accused of wrongdoing in what has become one of the biggest embezzlement cases in the world.
The 48-year-old actor testified that Low threw a “multitude of lavish parties with many different people from all over the world” on boats and at nightclubs, often with celebrities in attendance — sometimes including Michel.
DiCaprio said he and Low first met around 2010 at a party in Las Vegas, though the actor, smiling, said he didn´t quite remember everything from the evening.
He was then regularly invited to parties by Low, including a New Year´s Eve celebration in which revelers flew from Australia to the United States on a private plane — in order to see the clocks strike midnight twice.
“I was given a green light by my team as well as the studios to accept Mr. Low´s funding,” DiCaprio said. “That means that the background check was fine and that he was seen as a legitimate businessperson.”
DiCaprio also accepted gifts from Low for his environmental foundation.
But in 2015, the actor said, he cut ties with Low after suspicions surfaced around his connection to the disappearance of billions of dollars from 1MDB´s accounts.
Low, who is said to have fled to China and remains at large, allegedly used the 1MDB funds to subsidize his luxurious lifestyle, invest in DiCaprio´s film, rub shoulders with the rich and famous and influence politics.