DiCaprio urged by charity to step down from UN role
Los Angeles, Oct 15 (IANS) A rainforest charity has called on actor 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,” variety.com quoted Lukas Straumann, director of Switzerland-based charity Bruno Manser Fund, as saying.
Straumann added: “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 US Justice Department is investigating allegations of embezzlement at 1MDB. Both Low and Aziz deny wrongdoing.
DiCaprio was named a UN Messenger of Peace in 2014.
His climate change documentary “Before the Flood”, which sees him travel around the world talking to scientists and world leaders about the dramatic changes occurring around the world due to climate change, will have its European premiere at the London Film Festival on Saturday.