Written by Ollie Francis
Pras – a founding member of the legendary rap trio, The Fugees, is facing some consequential charges in relation to his contribution to international financial fraud to the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election.
The U.S. Justice Department announced on Friday (May 10), Pras whose real name is Prakazrel Michel, is a co-conspirator with fugitive Malaysian tycoon Low Taek Jho (Jho Low) in attempt to conceal international campaign contributions to the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election, estimating around $21.6 million dollars. It is currently unclear which presidential candidate was the beneficiary of the money laundering scheme.
In laymen terms, Michel allegedly transferred over $21.6 million dollars of illegal money into the United States through third-party wire transfers from Low’s business accounts to Michel’s before funneling the large sum of money into the United States as a legitimate contribution without unveiling the true nature of where the finances stemmed from.
Of the four-count indictment, Michel and Low were each charged with one-count of conspiracy to defraud the United States government, one count of ‘making foreign and conduit campaign contributions’. Michel is charged additionally with one-count of a ‘scheme to conceal material facts’ and ‘two counts of making a false entry in a record in connection with the conspiracy,’ according to court documents.
The Fugees alumnus has recently denied the harsh allegations against him according to his recent TMZ live. Within the two-minute clip, Pras went into detail stating that at the time of the indictment, he was in the studio mixing some content for his forthcoming project, ‘Elon Musk,’ which is slated for a June release.
“Basically, it all happened (um) I’m sittin’ in the studio one day. I’m mixin’ the Rick Ross vocals for my new EP, Elon Musk that’s actually comin’ out next month. And, I get a call from my lawyer and he’s tellin’ me that there’s a helicopter hovering over the studio. “
“And about 30 agents is about to come and rush in and take me in. I was a little bit appalled because I don’t know what’s going on.”
In the short interview, Pras alleges that he and Low are not close in nature for him to be an accomplice of the money laundering scheme, although they are associates, despite the court documents stating otherwise.
May 10, the prominent emcee appeared in the U.S. District Court (Washington, DC) on his four-count indictment charges, pleading not-guilty to the allegations presented to him from the U.S. Government.
“Mr. Michel is innocent of these charges and looks forward to having the case heard by a jury,” Michel’s attorney, Barry Pollack informed The Associated Press.
There is no clear indication as to when the trial may begin, however if convicted, Pras could face up to 20 years in federal prison.