A rainforest charity has called on Leonardo DiCaprio to resign as United Nations Messenger of Peace for climate change if he fails to cut his ties with Riza Aziz and Jho Low, who are at the center of allegations about the embezzlement of Malaysian state funds.
“Leonardo DiCaprio has consistently refused to explain his close personal and financial ties with key persons of the Malaysian 1MDB scandal,” Lukas Straumann, director of Switzerland-based charity Bruno Manser Fund, said. “This is unacceptable. If DiCaprio fails to distance himself from Malaysian corruption, he should resign as UN Messenger of Peace for climate change. We can’t save the environment if we fail to stop corruption.”
According to the charity, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation has received funds from Low and Aziz. The foundation was set up in 1998 with “the mission of protecting the world’s last wild places,” according to its website. Aziz also contributed financing for the production of “The Wolf of Wall Street,” which was produced by DiCaprio’s Appian Way Productions. Aziz is chairman and co-founder of Red Granite Pictures, which co-produced the film and Aziz is credited as a producer. These funds were allegedly embezzled from Malaysian state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd., known as 1MDB.
The U.S. Justice Department is investigating allegations of embezzlement at 1MDB. Both Low and Aziz deny wrongdoing.
When UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon named DiCaprio as a UN Messenger of Peace in 2014, he commented: “Mr. DiCaprio is a credible voice in the environmental movement, and has a considerable platform to amplify its message. I am pleased he has chosen to add his voice to UN efforts to raise awareness of the urgency and benefits of acting now to combat climate change.”