Ex-Fugees Member Pras Facing 22 Years After Guilty Verdict For 10 Counts Of International Fraud

Ex-Fugees Member Pras Facing 22 Years After Guilty Verdict For 10 Counts Of International Fraud

L'Oréal Luchi
04/26/2023 12:00 AM EDT

Former member of the Fugees, Pras Michel was found guilty of 10 federal counts related to international conspiracy.

CNN reports Pras attempted to help Malaysian businessman, Jho Low and the Chinese government gain access to US officials, like former presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump. He was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud the US, witness tampering and acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign government.

Pras testified that Jho paid him $20 million in 2012 to get a picture of himself with Obama and prosecutors alleged Michel funneled over $800,000 of that money to Obama's campaign through several straw donors, according to the report. During the trial, Pras says he “never used the money at Jho’s direction,” but saw it as an opportunity for himself to advance. He told the jury, “I could have bought 12 elephants with it.”

An investigation into Jho began in 2017 when Trump became President. Jho was suspected of embezzling billions from 1MBD, the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund. Prosecutors allege Jho went to Pras and

directed over $100 million to Pras to help push the government, including Trump, to drop its investigation into Jho. Prosecutors also say Pras advocated for the extradition of a Chinese dissident, Guo Wengui, on behalf of the Chinese government.

In court, Pras said he only helped Jho find an attorney in the US. He also claims he told authorities about Gue because he thought he was a criminal. Pras says the $100 million “wasn’t from Jho” and was for a media business.

Jho is also facing charges and he’s believed to be in China. Guo has since been arrested and charged by the Justice Department with defrauding investors in an unrelated case.

Pras faces up to 20 years in prison. A court date for sentencing hasn’t been set as of yet.