US actor willingly returns picture and Marlon Brando’s Oscar, given to him by a financier linked to Malaysian fund

The US Justice Department took legal action on Thursday to recover about $540m in assets that authorities say were stolen by financiers associated with a sovereign wealth fund established by Malaysia’s prime minister. Items include a Picasso painting given to actor Leonardo DiCaprio and the rights to two Hollywood films.

The filing in US District Court in Los Angeles was the Justice Department’s latest step in a long-running case over an alleged conspiracy to launder money misappropriated from the 1Malaysia Development Berhad fund, known as 1MDB, which was set up by Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak in 2009 to promote economic development. In the complaints, which are all civil actions, the Justice Department alleged more than $4.5bn was taken from 1MDB by high-level fund officials and their associates.

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