The Academy Award winner took the stand to explain his connection to the rapper.
Leonardo DiCaprio took the stand at Washington, D.C.'s federal courthouse on Monday as a witness in the trial of former Fugees member Prakazrel "Pras" Michel.
Pras is accused of allegedly funneling money to Barack Obama's 2012 presidential reelection campaign through straw donors and working with fugitive Malaysian financer Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low. Five years later, prosecutors say Pras tried to squelch an investigation into Low under former President Donald Trump’s administration. Additionally, Low is being accused of masterminding an international money laundering and bribery scheme that stole billions from the Malaysian state investment fund known as 1MDB.
Both Michel and Low are facing charges in the United States, but Low remains at large, so Michel is on trial alone.
CBS News reports that DiCaprio, who is not accused of any wrongdoing, testified to a grand jury on Monday and discussed his relationship with Low in a bid by prosecutors to show that Low used stolen money to curry favor with actors, models, and politicians in the United States.
According to prosecutors, Low and DiCaprio were introduced by the stepson of former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, who was charged in Malaysia in connection with the 1MDB corruption scandal. DiCaprio recalled to jurors first meeting Low when when he attended his Las Vegas birthday party in 2010. The actor said he understood Low to be "sort of a prodigy in the business world and ultra-successful."
According to the the outlet, there were times when the 48-year-old actor was so quiet answering questions that District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who is presiding over the case, had to ask him to speak up.
"At the risk of asking a stupid question, what do you do for a living?" prosecutor Nicole Lockhart asked DiCaprio.
"I am an actor," the Titanic star responded.
Low became a regular contributor to DiCaprio’s charitable foundation, and eventually Low floated the idea of providing the primary financing for Martin Scorsese's movie, The Wolf of Wall Street, which DiCaprio produced and starred in alongside Jonah Hill and Margot Robbie.
DiCaprio said he had Low’s funding and legitimacy carefully vetted before entering into a business relationship.
"I was given the green light by my team as well as my studio," the Oscar winner said on the stand. "He was a legitimate business person wanting to invest in the movie."
DiCaprio and the producers of The Wolf of Wall Street agreed to pay back $60 million to the U.S. government after allegations emerged that the movie was funded with money stolen from a Malaysian state investment fund.
A spokesperson for DiCaprio previously told CBS News that the actor is working with U.S. prosecutors to return any funds he or his charities received from 1MDB.
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