US accuses Jho Low and ex-Fugee of lobbying 1MDB


The United States has indicted a Malaysian financier and a former member of the hijacked lobbying hip hop trio Fugees for dropping an investigation related to the 1MDB scandal of embezzlement of Malaysian state investment funds and extradite a Chinese dissident based in the United States.

Jho Low, the alleged mastermind of the 1MDB fraud, and Prakazrel “Pras” Michel are accused of launching undisclosed lobbying campaigns in 2017 targeting the Donald Trump administration, according to a statement. Declaration of the Ministry of Justice released on Friday.

Led by Low and the Chinese Vice Minister of Public Security, alleged lobbying efforts by Michel and the Malaysian financier were aimed at convincing the US administration to quash the investigation of Low and others regarding 1MDB and return a dissident in China, the DoJ said.

Michel and Low have been accused of conspiring with individuals, including Elliott Broidy, a former Trump fundraiser, and Nickie Lum Davis, an American businesswoman, both of whom pleaded guilty in 2020 to lobbying senior U.S. government officials to quash the 1MDB investigation and deport the dissident Chinese. The DoJ said those efforts ultimately failed.

The financier and the artist were also charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering. The hip hop star has also been charged with witness tampering and conspiring to make false statements to banks, the DoJ statement said.

The new allegations highlight the complex web linked to the 1MDB fraud, which involved illicit cash flows across the globe and spanned the highest echelons of global politics.

The DoJ alleges that a total of $ 4.5 billion was embezzled from the fund in a scandal that US officials have called “kleptocracy at its worst.”

Malaysia, which is conducting its own investigation into the case, is seeking to recoup billions of dollars from 1MDB to buy luxury properties, expensive artwork and to fund the Oscar-nominated film. the wolf of Wall Street.

Lawyers for Low and Michel did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Saturday. Low, who also faces charges in Malaysia, has denied any wrongdoing and is still at large.

Michel rose to fame with the Fugees, a hip hop group comprising Lauryn Hill and Wyclef Jean who rose to fame in the 1990s with hit singles such as Slowly kill me and Ready or Not.

Low and Michel were billed in 2019 for allegedly making illicit contributions to the 2012 US presidential election campaign. The DoJ alleged that Michel received around $ 21.6 million from Low and redirected the money personally and through about 20 “straw donors” .

If convicted, the Malaysian financier faces a jail term of up to 10 years per count while Michel could serve a maximum of 20 years in prison per count.



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