Leonardo DiCaprio was gifted Marlon Brando's best actor Oscar for his performance in On the Waterfront as a birthday present, but he has now handed the historical award over to the FBI as part of a federal investigation. The star was given the Oscar, along with a Jean-Michel Basquiat collage, Diane Arbus photography and a Picasso painting, by Jho Low, a purported financier of Red Granite Picture. The production company's co-founder Riza Aziz is currently suspected of helping his stepfather - the Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak – embezzle around £3.6 billion through a political scheme, which also helped to fund Leo's 2013 film, The Wolf of Wall Street.
Leonardo was given the Oscar as a gift
According to the court filing, the US government claim they believe the embezzled money paid for "the co-conspirators' lavish lifestyles, including purchases of artwork and jewellery, the acquisition of luxury real estate and luxury yachts, the payment of gambling expenses, and the hiring of musicians and celebrities to attend parties".
Leonardo has handed the Oscar over
The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Marlon's Oscar was purchased for around £475,600 through memorabilia dealer, Ralph DeLuca. However, according to Avra Douglas, the Brando estate's executor, the star's Oscar was never actually sold, but actually went missing. Speaking to the magazine, she said: "[Marlon] was trying to track it down and kept hitting dead ends. There was some rumour that [late actor turned agent] Marty Ingels of all people had it, but that turned out to be untrue. It would be great to get it back."
Marlon received an Oscar for his role in On the Waterfront
The purchase of an Oscar also goes against an Academy Award bylaw, which forbids recipients of the award, or anyone who inherits one, to sell the award without offering it back to the Academy for just $10. The Academy told the Hollywood Reporter: "We have a long history of enforcing our bylaws against the sale of post-1951 Oscars, and, where possible, even those awarded pre-1951. We have on many occasions prevented the sale of Oscars and enforced the Academy's rights to recover the statuettes."