Pras Set to Be Charged in Case Tied to Obama Campaign Fund Scandal
Pras has been hit with a four-count indictment on charges related to campaign funding violations on Friday (May 10). The U.S. Department of Justice issued a statement laying out their charges against the former Fugees member.
"Prakazrel 'Pras' Michel and Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho (also known as 'Jho Low') were charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States government and for making foreign and conduit campaign contributions," reads the statement. "Michel also was charged with one count of a scheme to conceal material facts and two counts of making a false entry in a record in connection with the conspiracy."
After his appearance before the U.S. Magistrate Judge G. Michael Harvey in Washington D.C., Pras' lawyer, Barry J. Pollack, released a statement to Pitchfork. It reads, “Mr. Michel is extremely disappointed that so many years after the fact the government would bring charges related to 2012 campaign contributions. Mr. Michel is innocent of these charges and looks forward to having the case heard by a jury.”
According to the report, the Fugees star will be accused of giving money to pro-Obama organizations without disclosing the funds' out-of-the-country origins. The government believes that Pras' donations with Malaysian investment company 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) was part of a grand international money laundering scheme. Pras' lawyer, Barry Pollack, may be charged in the matter as well.
Authorities believe Pras was brought into the scheme by Malaysian financier Jho Low, and Pras then brought in former Justice Department official George Higginbotham to help cover things up. They allege the New Jersey rapper was paid millions of dollars for his part in the scheme, and that the money was illegally funneled in by Higginbotham through shell companies and falsified documents.
As previously reported, the U.S. government seized $37.5 million from Pras' bank account in January in connection with this case. Authorities say that $4.5 billion of 1MDB's funds were reportedly misused. The money was allegedly laundered into bank accounts around the world.
Pras has maintained his innocence in the matter, and alleges that he's being targeted because of racism. XXL has reached out to Pras' team for comment.
See 12 Rappers Who Have 10 or More Solo Albums in Their Catalog