A famous rapper is under fire for his alleged involvement in an international fraud scheme.
According to Insider, Prakazrel “Pras” Michel, known for his contributions to the legendary Hip-Hop group Fugees, is currently on trial facing several charges for reportedly “conspiring to make and conceal foreign campaign contributions and witness tampering.”
Among the accusations is that Michel received payments totaling millions of dollars from Jho Low, a Malaysian businessman and fugitive.
To hide the money, Michel reportedly used straw donors to donate money to former President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection.
Reported Political Involvement
Per the law, foreign nationals are not allowed to contribute to U.S. elections, thus putting Michel at fault for using the money from Low to contribute to a political campaign.
“Prosecutors also allege that Michel and Low, who has been accused of stealing more than $4 billion from his country’s sovereign wealth fund, conspired to lobby President Donald Trump’s administration in 2017 to drop an investigation into Low’s finances and remove a Chinese dissident, Guo Wengui, from the US. Guo was arrested earlier this month on fraud and money-laundering charges,” Insider reported.
According to an NPR report, prosecutors said that Michel was “willing to break any laws necessary to get paid.”
“Low had money to burn and the defendant was willing to cash in at any turn,” said prosecutor Nicole Lockhart during the opening argument in the Washington, D.C. federal district court, Insider reports.
According to NBC News, she also said that the case against Michel is “filled with political intrigue, backroom dealing…burner phones and lies.”
High-profile witnesses such as Trump’s former national security advisor H.R. McMaster, Leonardo DiCaprio, and renowned casino owner Steve Wynn could potentially be called into the court case.
The Possible Repercussions
If convicted, Michel may be looking at up to 20 years in prison. The trial is anticipated to go on for roughly one month.
At this time, Michel has pled “not guilty” and his lawyer has reserved an opening statement to follow after prosecutors have rested their case.