Leonardo DiCaprio urged to resign from UN climate change role

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The Independent Online

Leonardo DiCaprio has been urged to stand down from his role as a United Nations campaigner on climate change.

Rainforest charity Bruno Manser Funds urged the Oscar winner to either renounce his role as UN Messenger of Peace or hand back funding his film, The Wolf of Wall Street, allegedly received from the multi-billion dollar development fund called 1MDB.

The fund was set up by the Malaysian government to fund strategic development in the country and improve the lives of ordinary citizens, but Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak was accused of channelling over RM2.67bn (£630m) into his personal bank account and into lucrative private ventures. 

The US government launched a probe earlier this year into whether the money was  funnelled into a fund which paid for luxury homes in the US and Europe, gambling and expensive art for Mr Razak’s inner circle as well as bankrolling the production of The Wolf of Wall Street via a subsidiary called Red Granite Productions.

Mr Razak’s stepson Riza Aziz is listed as a producer on the movie – which was about unrestrained greed of a group of unscrupulous bankers.

The director of the environment charity which has a particular focus on deforestation in Malaysia, Lukas Straumann, told the Hollywood Reporter: "If DiCaprio is unwilling to come clean, we ask him to step down as UN Messenger for Peace for climate change."

It comes as DiCaprio is due to release his documentary on climate change, Before the Flood, after its UK premiere in London on Friday.

It depicts DiCaprio touring the world and seeing the impacts of climate change firsthand before meeting with world leaders such as Barack Obama to discuss the problem.

The Independent has contacted DiCaprio’s representatives for comment.