Fugees Star, Pras Michel, Admits He Received $20 Million From Businessman Who Wanted Picture With President Obama

Fugees star, Prakazrel "Pras Michel”, testified defense on Tuesday, April 18, that he received $20 million from Malaysian financier Jho Low to help him get a photo with former President Barack Obama.


The rapper faces criminal conspiracy, foreign lobbying and campaign finance charges for allegedly plotting with Low to attempt to influence the administrations of Obama and former President Donald Trump.

Before a jury in Washington, the Grammy winner said Low, who is now a fugitive accused of embezzling $4.5 billion from Malaysia's 1MDB sovereign wealth fund, did not direct him to make campaign donations with the money for the photo.


“After consulting with my attorneys and the universe, I have decided to testify," Michel told the court Tuesday before answering questions from his defense team and prosecutors alike about the approximately $800,000 he said he paid to friends so they could donate to a political campaign.

Prosecutors allege the Grammy-winning artist immersed himself in American politics at the behest of the wealthy Malaysian financier to gain access, peddle influence, and make money. 


He was indicted in 2019 on federal charges that Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low, paid him millions to help launder money Low had allegedly embezzled from a state-owned investment fund in his home country.


Testifying in court on April 18, Michel said he used some of the funds for three friends to attend $40,000-a-plate fundraisers for Obama. Michel said he did not know it was improper to do this.

"When you received the money from Jho Low, you used it to make political contributions," federal prosecutor John Keller said in a Washington court.


"No," Michel responded at the trial. "Once he gave me the money, it was my discretion how I spent the money because it's my money."


He described the funds from Low as "free money."


It is illegal for foreigners to donate to U.S. election campaigns, and it is also against the law to pay someone else to make a campaign contribution.


Pras Michel is accused of involvement with Low in three schemes, for which prosecutors say he was paid millions of dollars.

In the first, prosecutors claim that Michel violated federal election laws by funneling about $2 million from Low into Obama's 2012 campaign coffers and masking the source of the funds by using straw donors.


Michel is also accused of seeking to convince the Trump-era Justice Department to drop its civil and criminal investigations into Low over the 1MDB scandal, and trying to lobby the U.S. on behalf of China to send Chinese businessman Guo Wengui to China.

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