Apr 26, 2023 - World

Fugees rapper convicted in 1MDB scheme

Pras Michel arrives at U.S. District Court on April 3 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Fugees rapper Prakazrel "Pras" Michel was convicted Wednesday for his role in a multibillion-dollar scheme to ransack Malaysian state investment fund 1MDB.

The big picture: After a trial featuring high-profile witnesses including Leonardo DiCaprio and former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Michel was found guilty on 10 counts — including conspiracy, acting as an agent of a foreign government and witness tampering.

Zoom in: Prosecutors accused the Grammy Award-winning artist of conspiring with Malaysian businessman Jho Low to try to influence the Department of Justice and the administrations of then-Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

  • Michel also allegedly attempted to lobby the U.S. government on behalf of China's ruling Communist Party for the extradition of billionaire and dissident Guo Wengui.

Zoom out: Goldman Sachs was accused of facilitating the 1MDB fraud, earning almost $600 million in fees on three bond deals from the corrupt Malaysian fund, per Axios' Felix Salmon.

  • Each time Goldman provided the money to 1MDB, Low, a former financier to ex-Prime Minister Rajib Najib, would steal it, Salmon writes.
  • Low is believed to be in China, per NPR.
  • Prosecutors said proceeds from the scheme went to lavish spending on jewels, art, a superyacht and luxury real estate, AP reports.
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