Pras Michel guilty of all 10 counts in international fraud case
Prakazrel ‘Pras’ Michel has been found guilty of all charges in his international fraud trail after becoming embroiled in a political conspiracy that spanned two US presidential administrations.
The founding member of ’90s hip-hop group The Fugees, was accused of accepting $100 million from Malaysian financier Jho Low, who was charged with massive fraud and remains on the run, to influence both the administrations of Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
The 50-year-old musician was found guilty of all 10 counts, including conspiracy, witness tampering, and acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign government.
He faces up to 20 years in prison, but no sentencing date has been set.
Michel argued he simply wanted to make money and got bad legal advice while reinventing himself in the world of politics.
He declined to comment after the verdict, but his attorney said he was “extremely disappointed” in the decision and plans to appeal.
David Kenner added outside court with Michel by his side: “We are extremely disappointed in that result but are very, very confident in the ultimate outcome of this case.
“If we do move to a sentencing hearing I remain very confident we will certainly appeal this case. This is not over.”
Michel was accused of using Low’s funds to influence the US government to hand over a Chinese billionaire, Miles Guo, to Chinese authorities as a favour to Chinese leaders.
Guo, an ally of Steve Bannon, has now been arrested by US authorities.
Michel was accused of becoming a funnel for Low's millions, and his attempts to influence US government.
Leonardo DiCaprio testified Low – who helped finance Hollywood films, including ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ starring the actor – had appeared as a legitimate businessman and mentioned wanting to donate to Obama's campaign.
Michel was also present on some of the trips organised by Low, according to DiCaprio, which included jetting to Australia for New Year’s Eve and Las Vegas to ring in the New Year a second time.
‘The Wolf of Wall Street’, which had a reported budget of $100 million and grossed more than $400 million worldwide when it was released in 2013, was nominated for five Academy Awards and gives special thanks to Low in the credits.