Fisher Stevens, who directed the Leonardo DiCaprio-produced documentary Before the Flood, has defended the award winning actor over the 1MDB imbroglio.
“The guy’s trying to do good. Okay, so he had an unsavoury character in there who donated some money.
“What did he (DiCaprio) know? Leo did nothing wrong,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.
Although Stevens did not mention names, it is believed that he was referring to Malaysian-born businessman Jho Low, who is said to be a close associate of the actor.
The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) had named Low and Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s stepson Riza Aziz in its court filings with regard to the alleged abuse of 1MDB funds.
Riza is the co-founder of Red Granite Pictures, which is accused of producing the DiCaprio-starring movie Wolf of Wall Street.
Red Granite has denied this allegation.
DiCaprio was also mentioned in the court filings, with the DOJ naming him as “Hollywood Actor 1”, who allegedly went gambling in Las Vegas’ Venetian casino in 2012 with Low, Riza and Joey McFarland, a co-founder of Red Granite Pictures.
It was alleged that US$1.15 million of 1MDB-related funds was allegedly withdrawn in one day and that DiCaprio had witnessed some of the gambling of the embezzled money.
The actor is also alleged to have accepted donations originating from 1MDB to his environmental charity, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.
Following this, there have been calls for the actor to return the alleged money received.
Meanwhile, The Hollywood Reporter also quoted former Bar Council president Ambiga Sreenevasan urging Dicaprio to come to Malaysia.
“We are close to Indonesia, where your foundation is doing some work. See for yourself if what I am saying is true.
“Check out how massive corruption has destroyed so much in our country, including our precious rainforests. Get to know us so that you understand why keeping even one cent of money connected with 1MDB would be immoral and completely unacceptable,” she said.
In the documentary Before the Flood, DiCaprio visits the rainforests of Sumatra in Indonesia, left devastated after being burned down to make room for palm oil manufacturing.