Actor Leonardo DiCaprio reported before a jury in Washington on Monday that Malaysian billionaire Jho Low disclosed his intentions to provide the United States up to $30 million. Prosecutors claim that the 2012 reelection campaign of President Barack Obama was a component of an unlawful foreign influence operation.
DiCaprio said that Low mentioned to him during their “casual talk about what party he was supporting” that he intended to give the Democratic Party “a large gift” worth “somewhere to the tune of $20-30 million.” DiCaprio said, “I simply replied, ‘Wow, that’s a lot of money.
The “Titanic” actor testified in the Fugees rapper Prakazrel “Pras” Michel’s criminal trial. Michel is accused of participating in a foreign influence operation against the Obama and Trump administrations.
Michel has refuted the charges.
DiCaprio is one of a number of well-known people connected to Low, a wanted man accused of stealing $4.5 billion from Malaysia’s 1MDB sovereign wealth fund and now wanted on separate federal criminal charges.
The banker funded Leonardo DiCaprio’s philanthropic organization and helped finance “The Wolf of Wall Street,” the 2013 film in which DiCaprio appeared and received an Oscar nomination. The financier was notorious for paying Hollywood celebrities to attend parties with him.
In 2018, the Justice Department and the movie’s production firm negotiated a legal settlement in which the latter forfeited $60 million that was allegedly taken from 1MDB, according to the New York Post.
DiCaprio has been assisting the US administration ever since. On Monday, he was able to enter and exit the courtroom without being seen by the TV teams that had been watching his entrance.
According to the prosecution, Michel consented to conceal the source of the cash while directing money from Low into Obama’s 2012 campaign. Foreigners are not allowed to contribute to American campaigns under federal election law.
They claim that he subsequently conspired with others behind the scenes to attempt to persuade the Trump administration to halt its investigation into Low. He is also accused of acting as a Chinese foreign agent to get the administration to consent to the repatriation of dissident Guo Wengui.
On Monday, DiCaprio informed the jury that he had known Michel at least since the 1990s when he first encountered the Fugees backstage. The majority of his evidence focused on his friendship with Low, who organized extravagant parties on boats and at nightclubs that Hollywood celebrities frequented.
In order to accomplish Low’s objective of celebrating New Year’s twice in one night, DiCaprio claimed to have traveled on his private aircraft with a large entourage one New Year’s Eve between Australia and Las Vegas. When Michel’s lawyer questioned him on whether Low succeeded in his goal, he caused laughs in the courtroom.
DiCaprio responded, “It depends on how you look at it. When DiCaprio first met Low in 2010, he claimed to have thought of him as “kind of a prodigy in the business world.”
Before agreeing to a contract with Low to fund “The Wolf of Wall Street,” DiCaprio claimed that his own legal team, an independent company, and the studios completed three different due diligence investigations. My staff and the studios gave me the go-ahead to take Mr. Low’s funding, he said.