UK

Leonardo DiCaprio Warns Most Bankers Who 'Decimated' Economy 'Got Away Scot-Free'

10/01/2014 09:39 GMT | Updated 25/01/2014 21:01 GMT

Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio has warned that most of the bankers who "decimated" the economy have still "got away scot-free".

The Hollywood actor made his remarks in a robust defence of his new film The Wolf of Wall Street, in which he plays disgraced American stockbroker Jordan Belfort, who made millions in the 1990s peddling penny stocks to unwitting investors until he was brought down by authorities over fraud and money laundering charges.

DiCaprio denied that the film, in which Belfort rises to the top fueled by cocaine and Quaaludes, glamorised greed and drug-taking.

He told ITV News: "What happens at the end of this film isn't something you'd see at the end of a traditional Hollywood film where the protagonist would suffer correctly.That's the irony of what we're trying to do here.

"A lot of these people who decimated our economy, ultimately got bonuses and if we didn't give an accurate portrayal of the great time they were having, with complete disregard for anyone around them except themselves - and most of these guys got away scot-free - we're not telling the truth."

"The best thing, in my mind, a movie can do is immerse an audience into somebody else's mindset and our intention for this film, specifically, was to capture who these people were during this time period and what's essentially in a culture right now that seems to be so destructive."

No banker has yet been sent to jail in relation to the 2008 financial crash, leading to a growing public clamour for some to face jail sentences.

The government recently caved in to calls to bring in a 7 year jail sentence for "reckless misconduct".

However, senior politicians warned that it would be a "mistake" to judge how effective jail sentences are on how many bankers are sent to jail.

Andrew Tyrie, the Tory MP who chaired the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, told the Huffington Post UK: "Criminal sanctions are a last resort. It may concentrate the minds of a number of people before they take decisions that might otherwise have taken and if it does, it may turn out to be a power rarely if ever used."

However, he admitted that big banks have yet to start cleaning up their act.

"We've had interest rate swap misselling, several cases of Libor, with many more cases of being investigated as we speak, we've had PPI [mis-selling] and on top of that we've had money laundering and sanctions busting," he said.

"You have to say that while the top of these organisations have got the message, it's not clear that the juggernauts they're steering have yet to change course."

See also: Here's 10 tips for success from the real Wolf of Wall Street