*Rapper Pras Michel of The Fugees is set to subpoena former presidents Obama and Trump in the ongoing probe into his alleged scheme to get the Trump administration to drop its probe of him and other individuals connected to the investment company 1Malaysia Development Berhad.
Pras and Malaysia financier Jho Low (real name is Low Taek Jho) are facing criminal charges as part of an investigation by the Justice Department into the fraudulent activity behind 1MDB. Pras and Jho are accused of funneling money to political campaigns with the goal “to have the 1MDB embezzlement investigation and forfeiture proceedings involving Low and others dropped and to have a Chinese dissident sent back to China.”
As All Hip Hop reports, Pras “allegedly made foreign campaign contributions, using money from businessman Jho Low to illegally transfer $21 million to the artist in 2012,” the outlet writes.
According to The Week, the artist laundered a portion of the money as a donation to Obama’s re-election campaign. An indictment filed in 2022 noted that Pras did the same for Trump’s re-election campaign, “as a strategy to buy favor with higher-ups who could stop the Justice Department from looking going through with an investigation into his money affairs,” per All Hip Hop.
READ MORE: Pras Loses Lawsuit against NY Post for Alleged Defamatory Article
“Jho Low’s money was funneled through various US bank accounts set up by, and under the control of, an entertainer and businessman named Prakazrel ‘Pras’ Michel,” the DOJ said in its civil action in 2018, as reported by the New York Post.
“According to the allegations in the complaint, Michel and Higginbotham defrauded U.S. financial institutions and laundered millions of dollars into the United States as part of an effort to improperly influence the Department’s investigation into the massive embezzlement and bribery scheme involving 1MDB,” Assistant Attorney General Bruce Allen Benczkowski told NJ.com in 2018. “The Criminal Division and our law enforcement partners will do everything we can to trace, seize, and forfeit the proceeds of foreign corruption that flow through the U.S. financial system.”
Pras and Jho Low allegedly made false statements in connection with the conspiracy. The charges against Pras include “one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States government and making foreign and conduit campaign contributions, one count of concealing material facts, and two counts of making a false entry in a record in connection with the conspiracy,” per Pitchfork.
Pras reportedly plans to subpoena Trump and Obama to testify on his behalf.
“We’re planning on calling former President Trump and former President Obama. These subpoenas are going out for service today,” said Pras’ lawyer David Kenner on Jan. 17, according to the All Hip Hop report.
John Keller, attorney for the Justice Department, reportedly said in court, “The government is not intending to call any former presidents.”
The trial for the criminal conspiracy case begins on March 27, 2023.
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