Rapper Pras Michel has been found guilty on Wednesday of ten criminal counts in relation to an international conspiracy to help China influence the United States politics and government.
The former Fugees member was accused of assisting fugitive Malaysian businessman Jho Low in helping the Chinese government to access the highest levels of the U.S. government. This also included reportedly accessing former presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama, according to CNN.
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Pras Michel Found Guilty On 10 Counts Related To International Conspiracy With China
The rapper was reportedly found guilty of “conspiracy to defraud the US” and “witness tampering.” Additionally, he was also found guilty of “acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign government.”
CNN reports that Michel faces a sentence of up to 20 years. However, no sentencing date has been scheduled for the rapper as of yet.
Additionally, the rapperl has maintained his innocence, as reported by New York Post.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Fugees rapper Pras Michel found guilty in multimillion-dollar political conspiracies across two presidencies. pic.twitter.com/73Ns2EPUte
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) April 26, 2023
More Details Regarding The International Conspiracy Scheme
Last week, the Grammy-winning artist testified that Low paid him $20 million in 2012 to secure a picture of himself with Obama. Prosecutors claim that Michel then directed over $800,000 of those funds to Obama’s re-election campaign via multiple straw donors.
Michel testified that he thought he could spend the money as he saw fit. Additionally, he added that he never acted under the direction of Low.
“I could have bought 12 elephants with it,” he told the jury.
Low allegedly came to Michel again after Trump was elected in 2016, prosecutors alleged.
It was around that time that federal authorities began ramping up investigations into Low and his reported embezzlement of billions of dollars from 1MBD — a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund and strategic development company.
Low reportedly sent Michel over $100 million to attempt to influence the U.S. government. Additionally, the money was allegedly intended to stop its probe into the Malaysian businessman.
At the direction of the Chinese government, Michel also endorsed the extradition of Chinese dissident Guo Wengui, according to federal prosecutors.
Pras Attempts To Explain Away Connections To Fugitive Malaysian Businessman, Low Sentenced In Absentia
Meanwhile, Michel testified that all he did was attempt to find a lawyer for Low in the United States. Additionally, he added that the $100 million was for a media business he was starting.
He went on to deny that the massive investment was from Low.
Low, who is believed to be in China, was sentenced in absentia last month to 10 years in a Kuwait prison for his role in laundering a minimum of $1 billion connected to $4.5 billion that was stolen from 1MDB, the New York Post reported.
The $1 billion was laundered through Kuwait via Chinese currency. This was due to Low’s effort to keep the funds out of the US banking system “and out of reach of the Justice Department and its investigators,” the outlet reported.