A raper from the group “Fugees” has been charged with funneling $21 million dollars from foreign donors into Obama’s 2012 campaign.
The AP reported that one of the founding members of the 1990s hip-hop group the Fugees has been charged in a campaign finance conspiracy that took place during the 2012 presidential election, the Justice Department said Friday.
A four-count indictment accuses Prakazrel “Pras” Michel of conspiring with fugitive Malaysian financer Low Taek Jho, usually known as Jho Low, to make and conceal foreign campaign contributions. He is alleged to have used straw donors to give campaign contributions to a U.S. presidential candidate, who is identified in the indictment only as Candidate A.
Low has gained attention in the last several years after U.S. officials accused him of masterminding a money laundering and bribery scheme that pilfered billions from the Malaysian state investment fund known as 1MDB. He’s been charged separately by both U.S. and Malaysian officials in connection with that alleged fraud but remains at large.
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A rapper from hip-hop group the Fugees, along with a Malaysian financier, faces charges he broke federal campaign finance laws to raise money for President Barack Obama during the 2012 election.
The Justice Department’s four-count indictment, unsealed in the District of Columbia on Friday, accuses the financier Low Taek Jho of transferring more than $21 million of foreign money to rapper Prakazrel Michel, known as Pras, for the purpose of being used as a campaign contribution, while concealing the source of the money. The indictment does not name Obama, but clearly refers to him.
Prosecutors say Michel paid approximately $865,000 of the money received from Low to about 20 straw donors to make donations in their names to a presidential joint fundraising committee. He also allegedly paid more than $1 million of the money received from Low to an independent expenditure committee involved in the 2012 presidential election.
The duo were charged with violations of campaign finance law and conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government.
The indictments allege that by funneling campaign contributions through straw donors, Michel caused a presidential joint fundraising committee to submit false reports to the Federal Election Commission. That’s because the reports identified the straw donors, rather than Low or Michel, as the source of the contributions.
Low was previously indicted by the Justice Department for conspiring to launder billions of dollars and to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and remains at large. Michel appeared Friday at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and pleaded not guilty.
Michel, a Haitian-American born in Brooklyn, is a founding member of the Fugees, along with Lauryn Hill and Wyclef Jean. The group rose to fame in the early 1990s and is best known for its Grammy-winning album “The Score” and its chart-topping remake of the single, “Killing Me Softly.”