Here's why Leonardo DiCaprio decided to give back his Oscar

And it's not for the reason we would have expected...

And it's not for the reason we would have expected...

It was recently revealed that Leonardo DiCaprio has handed his Oscar over to the government, sending shock waves across the internet.

Before you panic, the Oscar in question isn't his hugely anticipated 2016 win for his work in The Revenant- after five nominations and a lot of waiting, we doubt he'll ever let go of that one.

Instead, the Academy Award that Leo returned was actually originally won by Marlon Brando - a gift to Leo from the production company that financed The Wolf of Wall Street.

The production company, Red Granite, is said to have put about £78 million behind the 2013 film, as well as gifting Leonardo with Marlon Brando's gold statuette - with the Scorsese film itself going on to be nominated for five Oscars in the best actor, best supporting actor, best picture, best director and best writing categories.

(Image credit: Rex Features (Shutterstock))

Unfortunately, Red Granite has since been linked to a billion-dollar money-laundering scheme, and has come under investigation by the Department of Justice.

The scheme in question was allegedly started by Najib Razak, the Malaysian prime minister, and involved taking money from a fund called 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

The US Justice Department is now said to be seeking £422 million in assets, from real estate and jewellery to expensive artwork - we're talking Van Gogh, Monet, Picasso and Basquiat.

As the news emerged, Leo was quick to hand his extravagant gift from the production company over to the government to help in any way he could.

Issuing a statement to Deadline, Leonardo’s representatives stated that the actor has ‘initiated return of these items, which were received and accepted by him for the purpose of being included in an annual charity auction to benefit his eponymous foundation.' The statement continued: 'He has also returned an Oscar originally won by Marlon Brando, which was given to Mr. DiCaprio as a set gift by Red Granite to thank him for his work on The Wolf Of Wall Street. Mr. DiCaprio is grateful for the support of the government in this effort, and continues to hope that justice is done in this matter.’

Jenny Proudfoot
Features Editor

Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.