Fugees Co-Founder Pras Charged in Donation Scheme Tied to Obama (UPDATE)

The artist has been charged with conspiracy, making a false statement, and two counts of falsifying records.

Pras Michel

Image via Getty/Slaven Vlasic

Pras Michel

UPDATED May 14, 8:03 p.m. ET: Pras Michel says he's going to address charges he helped funnel money to Obama's 2012 reelection on his new Elon Musk EP. 

Elon Musk is scheduled to arrive next month.

Pras made the comments while speaking to TMZ. 

See original story from 05/10/19 below.

Pras Michel, former member of the Fugees, has been charged with campaign finance violations that took place during the 2012 U.S. presidential race. 

According to a four-count indictment, the 46-year-old artist is accused of funneling foreign money to a super PAC that allegedly supported Barack Obama's reelection campaign. TMZ points out that the legal document doesn't specifically mention Obama's name, but points to a number of instances where Pras was photographed with the former president.

Federal prosecutors accuse the Fugees co-founder of conspiring with Malaysian businessman Jho Low to hide the source of the funds. The scheme involved using falsified records to funnel millions of dollars from foreign accounts to the U.S. That money would then be split up among "straw donors," who would then make small, more discreet donations to the PAC.

"Mr. Michel is extremely disappointed that so many years after the fact the government would bring charges related to 2012 campaign contributions," Pras' attorney Barry Pollack said in a statement to CNN. "Mr. Michel is innocent of these charges and looks forward to having the case heard by a jury," Pollack said in a statement.

Pras is facing charges of conspiracy, making a false statement, and two counts of falsifying records.

Pras and Low were named in the DOJ's investigation of the 1Malaysia Development Brand scandal.

"According to the allegations in the complaint, Michel and [former Justice Department official George Higginbotham] defrauded U.S. financial institutions and laundered millions of dollars into the United States as part of an effort to improperly influence the Department’s investigation into the massive embezzlement and bribery scheme involving 1MDB," Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski said in 2018. "The Criminal Division and our law enforcement partners will do everything we can to trace, seize, and forfeit the proceeds of foreign corruption that flow through the U.S. financial system."

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