Ready or not, here come the feds.
Ex-Fugees rapper Prakazrel “Pras” Michel has landed in the middle of an international corruption scandal that has ensnared Goldman Sachs — and attracted the attention of the Department of Justice.
According to an explosive suit filed Friday by the DOJ, the “Ghetto Superstar” singer conspired with an ex-DOJ official to thwart a federal probe into the $6 billion bribery and money-laundering scandal surrounding Malaysian playboy financier Jho Low, the DOJ alleged.
The civil suit claims Pras and the ex-DOJ official, George Higginbotham, last year helped Low funnel $73 million into four US bank accounts in a scheme to pay off other DOJ officials in the hope of influencing a criminal investigation.
“Jho Low’s money was funneled through various US bank accounts set up by, and under the control of, an entertainer and businessman named Prakazrel ‘Pras’ Michel,” the DOJ said in its civil action.
The funds had been earmarked to go to an unnamed financier and his wife, who would try to influence the DOJ to drop its criminal investigation into Low, according to the DOJ’s suit.
In March, The Wall Street Journal reported that ex-Trump fundraiser Elliott Broidy and his wife, Robin Rosenzweig, were in talks to earn millions for getting the feds to stop their probe.
A lawyer for Broidy and Rosenzweig didn’t return an e-mail seeking comment.
The allegations, filed in DC federal court, come as the DOJ and other law enforcement ramp up their investigation into 1Malaysia Development Berhad, the fund Low controlled and used to fund his over-the-top lifestyle and produce “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
Goldman Sachs shares reached their lowest point in more than two years Friday after reports that the Federal Reserve is investigating how the Wall Street bank helped fund Low’s $3 billion junket, which included Basquiat paintings, luxury real estate, and financial backing for “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
The stock on Friday dipped 2.2 percent to $190.69 after plunging as low as $188.13 — a two-year trough — after Bank of America cut its recommendation to “neutral” from “buy.”
That’s a 31 percent drop from its all-time high of $273.38, reached in March, and only a few bucks higher than the closing price of $181.92 on Nov. 8, 2016 — the day of Trump’s election.
In the new claims, Low brought Pras and Higginbotham to Macau to hatch a plan to funnel money through a Chinese novelty toy company under the guise of entertainment and consulting pay for Pras.
In reality, that money was intended to bribe DOJ officials who were investigating Low and 1MDB, the DOJ said.
Higginbotham and Pras set up four different bank accounts with Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo and Citigroup by lying about the source of the funds and its intended use, according to the DOJ.
Higginbotham, who was a liaison between Congress and the DOJ up until August, pleaded guilty earlier on Friday to misleading banks about the source of the money. He had no role in the investigation, the DOJ
A lawyer for Pras didn’t immediately return an e-mail seeking comment.
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