Pras Michel Charged In Obama Campaign Donation Scheme
According to the four-count indictment, Pras has been accused of funneling foreign money to a super PAC that allegedly supported Barack Obama’s reelection campaign. According to reports from TMZ, the legal document doesn’t specifically mention Obama’s name, but does point to a number of instances where the artist was photographed with the former president.
Federal prosecutors are accusing the Fugees co-founder of conspiring with Malaysian businessman Jho Low to hide the source of these funds. The scheme is said to have involved using falsified records to funnel millions of dollars from foreign accounts to the U.S. That money ended up being split up among “straw donors,” who would then proceed to make small, more discreet donations to the PAC over time.
“Mr. Michel is extremely disappointed that so many years after the fact the government would bring charges related to 2012 campaign contributions,” Pras’ attorney Barry Pollack said about the incident in a statement to CNN. “Mr. Michel is innocent of these charges and looks forward to having the case heard by a jury.”
Michel is facing charges of conspiracy, making a false statement, and two counts of falsifying records. Pras and Low were both named in the DOJ’s investigation of the 1Malaysia Development Brand scandal.
“According to the allegations in the complaint, Michel and [former Justice Department official George 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 Benczkowski said 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.”