Julius Baer Responds to DiCaprio, 1MDB Questions

Swiss private bank Julius Baer responded to questions over its links to actor-environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio, who has been criticized over his ties to representatives of Malaysia's 1MDB fund.

The Zurich-based private bank hasn't been connected to illicit dealings with 1MBD, a Malaysian state fund which stands accused by U.S. authorities of graft on a grand scale.

Nevertheless, Julius Baer has felt the heat from its proximity to Leonardo DiCaprio, who is mentioned in U.S. documents detailing what authorities allege was a billion-dollar corruption racket via murky offshore vehicles.

DiCaprio, Collardi Ties

A Swiss foundation has drawn attention to Baer's connections to DiCaprio, who is both personally and professionally linked to 1MDB representatives. 

Julius Baer sponsors an annual glitzy fundraiser in St-Tropez for DiCaprio's environmental charity.The actor and Boris Collardi, the bank's Chief Executive, both sit on an advisory panel for Formula E, the world's first electric car racing circuit. 

The Bruno Manser fund, a Swiss foundation that is devoted to preserving Malaysian rainforest, has made public a response from the bank to questions it set out about whether DiCaprio foundation funds had passed through the bank. 

DiCaprio Event Sponsor

The speed and extent of Julius Baer's response makes it clear that the bank is acutely aware of the political delicacy of the matter, and keen to avoid fallout from the 1MDB scandal.

Julius  Baer's involvement with DiCaprio's foundation is limited to sponsoring the St.-Tropez event, which the bank sees as marketing platform due to the event's illustrious guest list, two Baer executives wrote in their response.

DiCaprio Funds Passed Through?

The bank doesn't directly address whether it handled funds for the DiCaprio foundation – which it isn't allowed to do by law. The Swiss foundation has questioned whether DiCaprio's foundation was the beneficiary of 1MDB money.

«We can assure you that transactions and money flows which pass through our bank are generally evaluated to their source and destination and, in suspicious moments, communicated to the relevant authorities according to the appropriate regulatory requirements,» Baer wrote to the Swiss foundation. 

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