(Washington) Hip-hop star Pras Michel, a former member of The Fugees, was found guilty in Washington on Wednesday for his role in an illegal influence campaign by a Malaysian financier at the heart of a massive corruption scandal. .
The 50-year-old Haitian-American artist was found guilty of all the charges for which he was prosecuted, following a weeks-long media trial that notably saw actor Leonardo DiCaprio parade for bear witness.
Pras “Michel played a central role in a vast conspiracy to influence senior government officials,” said Harry Lidsk, a representative of the Ministry of Justice.
According to US authorities, this large sum was used in part for contributions to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2012. Since donations from abroad are prohibited in the United States, they would have been made through nominees and offshore companies.
Mr. Pras was convicted of charges including conspiracy, forgery and forgery, and serving as a concealed agent of a foreign government, offenses for which he faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, the department said. of the American Justice in a press release.
Pras Michel was also found guilty of having carried out in 2017 illicit lobbying for the benefit of China with the administration of Donald Trump to request the repatriation of a Chinese dissident, the billionaire Guo Wengui.
Accused of defrauding thousands of investors to enrich himself, Guo Wengui was arrested in March in New York for financial fraud.
Mr. Low, the Malaysian businessman at the heart of this vast scandal, was indicted in 2018 for corruption and money laundering linked to the looting of the 1MDB fund, supposed to contribute to the economic development of Malaysia. On the run, he is now probably in China.
The financier is notably accused, alongside other people, of having used the money from this fund to buy luxury residences, yachts or even works of art and to surround himself with music stars, cinema, in particular by financing the film The Wolf of Wall Street, a feature film released in 2013 which won an Oscar for Leonardo DiCaprio.
The actor told jurors during the trial about the decadent parties financed by Mr. Low and said he remembered him assuring “that he wanted to make a significant donation to the Democratic Party”, referring to “20 to 30 million dollars . I said “Wow, that’s a lot of money…”