Protest in London against DiCaprio over 1MDB scandal
Several anti-corruption activists from Malaysia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom staged a protest against Hollywood superstar Leonardo DiCaprio at London’s Leceister Square yesterday.
About 10 activists representing Malaysia’s Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4), Swiss-based Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) and London Bersih gathered outside the Odeon Theatre, awaiting DiCaprio's arrival.
The actor, who is fiercely vocal on environmental issues, was supposed to attend the premiere of the climate change documentary 'Before the Flood', produced by Fisher Stephen.
About 1,000 fans gathered outside the theatre waiting for his arrival about 9pm when the activists unfurled a long banner with his picture on it, surrounded by US dollars.
The banner, with DiCaprio holding a US dollar between his fingers, read 'Hollywood Actor 1, Pay Back Malaysia’s Stolen Assets!'.
C4’s UK representative Stanley Sudhagaran said, “We are here to protest against DiCaprio for stealing Malaysian people’s money; we are asking that the money be returned to Malaysia, where it belongs.”
Malaysiakini has obtained several video clips of the protest.
Waving a photo of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, Stanley said the PM has taken billions, and one of the beneficiaries were “our beloved Leonardo DiCarpio”.
“There is no point talking about climate change and the environment. Please return our money,” he told Malaysiakini, when contacted.
However, the activists did not meet or catch a glimpse of the famous actor, who reportedly slipped into the theatre through a back door, avoiding his fans, who were gathered in front of the theatre.
According to Stanley, DiCaprio turned up for just five minutes during the premiere and left without attending the usual question-and-answer session.
'Malaysians not alone in struggle'
“It’s wonderful to see that Malaysians are not alone in this struggle. It’s nice to see Malaysians abroad and foreign activists lending their hands and joining in this fight,” Stanley said.
“We are powerless at home, where there are so much restrictions. With the help of the international community, we seem so much stronger,” he added.
“The United Nations should re-look into its convention on diplomatic immunity. There needs to be a system in place where perpetrators like Najib must be held accountable and not allowed to escape from his wrongdoings.
“If that continues to happen, it only shows that international laws have failed,” Stanley added.
At a press conference in London yesterday, the activists urged DiCaprio (centre in photo) to “publicly disown” Najib’s stepson Riza Shahriz Abdul Aziz (on the left) and the flamboyant Penang-born Malaysian billionaire Jho Low.
The duo currently face a civil suit brought by the United States Department of Justice for money laundering activities related to 1MDB funds.
Both Riza and Jho Low were also instrumental in funding the production of the film 'The Wolf of Wall Street', with US$61 million allegedly misappropriated from the embattled Malaysian state investment fund.
The activists also demanded that DiCaprio resigns as the United Nations messenger of peace for climate change if he fails to distance himself from the 1MDB scandal.
Najib, who faces urgings at home from several quarters, including former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and election watchdog Bersih, to resign as prime minister over the 1MDB scandal, has repeatedly denied any wrong doing.
Meanwhile, Johana Michel and Lukas Straumann, representatives of BMF, the Swiss rainforest charity fund, were denied entry to watch the premiere, even though they had tickets to the event.
According to the BMF website, Michel and Straumann were told by security officers and the Odeon Theater’s box office manager that they were refused entry because of the banner protest against Leonardo.
They were also told that their ticket sums would be refunded.
DiCaprio shoud return donated money as Jho Low has no authority to 'donate' what do not belong to him!