Media Blackout: Former Fugees Member Pras Michéls Upcoming Trial Tied To The 1MDB Embezzlement Scandal

Former Fugees member Pras Michél was indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on May 6, 2019. Pras was charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government, one count for concealment of material fact, and two counts of making a false entry in record. Pras pled “Not Guilty” to all charges.

The charges against Pras stem from an ongoing investigation into the 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal (1MDB). According to the DOJ, between 2009 – 2013, “multiple individuals, including public officials and their associates, conspired to fraudulently divert billions of dollars from 1MDB through various means.” In October 2013, Pras partnered with entrepreneur and founder of Advanced Concepts, Inc., Frank White Jr., and former investment banker with Morgan Stanley and Rock Creek Group hedge fund, Shomik Dutta, to form DuSable Capital Management, LLC. According to the DOJ Foreign Agents Registration report, DuSable was set up to act as “an investment adviser for a joint project between a private equity fund and the government of Malaysia’s development fund to invest in a solar energy project in Malaysia.”

Pras is charged with assisting a Malaysian businessman and apparent celebrity “party boy,” Low Taek Jho, aka Jho Low, with funneling tens of millions of dollars into the U.S. to lobby high-level U.S. government officials. Pras is accused of funneling the funds for Low through bank accounts set up and under his control. George Higginbotham, a former DOJ employee, is alleged to have assisted Pras in opening multiple accounts at various financial institutions for the purpose of “maintaining money funneled into the United States at Low’s direction.” Higginbotham pleaded guilty and signed a plea agreement for his role on Nov. 19, 2018.

Pras has a long history of political activity, everything stemming from large campaign donations to support Barack Obama to orchestrating the candidacy of former Haitian President Michel Martelly, aka “Sweet Micky.” In an interview with Page Six regarding his partnership with DuSable, Pras stated; “I’m fascinated that as the most powerful country, we should be No. 1 in energy and infrastructure, and we’re not. We’re trying to do our part.”

Despite the involvement of high-profile individuals tied to the 1MDB scandal, the mainstream media is curiously silent, is there a media blackout? Pras intends to subpoena former presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump to testify at his trial. The trial will begin on March 27, 2023, at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

This article is part of an ongoing series that will highlight all individuals involved leading up to the trial.

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