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Leonardo DiCaprio Testifies in Money-Laundering Case of Fugees Rapper

by Joshua Brown
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Leonardo DiCaprio, a famous movie star, spoke in a federal court on Monday. This was part of a legal case that had to do with illegally transferring money around the world and bribery connected to a popular musician.

Prakazrel “Pras” Michel, a member of the famous hip-hop group The Fugees from the 1990s, is charged with giving money to Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign. This money allegedly came from a Malaysian businessman who was trying to avoid trouble with the law. Five years later, investigators also suspect that Pras tried to hide this businessperson’s misdeeds during Donald Trump’s presidency.

At the centre of this case is Low Taek Jho, known as Jho Low. He is accused of planning an international crime which includes money laundering and stealing billions from a government owned investment fund named 1MDB.

Leonardo DiCaprio is involved in the case because he had a friendship with Low, who was one of the people that funded “The Wolf of Wall Street” movie. Even though Low has been declared a fugitive (someone on the run), he still states his innocence.

The prosecutors claim that from June to November in 2012, a man named Low used Michel as a way to send money into the 2012 U.S. presidential election. He moved more than $21 million from foreign entities to Michel’s accounts and then had Michel use some of it to give 20 people donations for the election in their names but without saying where this money actually came from.

Leonardo DiCaprio said that he met his friend, Jho Low, at a birthday party in Las Vegas back in 2010. He described Jho as a successful businessman with lots of big connections from Abu Dhabi and Malaysia.

The Oscar-winning actor, who is 48 years old, answered questions calmly and carefully while on the witness stand. He admitted that he couldn’t remember all of the details or dates but he did confirm that he had known the defendant Michel since sometime in the 1990s after they met backstage at a Fugees concert.

Low was famous because of his cool hangouts with famous people and group trips on his personal airplane to big events like the World Cup. DiCaprio shared about one particular trip which included flying to Australia for New Year’s, then when they arrived back it was New Year’s all over again in Las Vegas. Michel came along on some of these awesome journeys, DiCaprio revealed.

Low started contributing to DiCaprio’s charity organization, and even proposed that he would provide the money for ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ project. Before going ahead with this high risk plan, DiCaprio thoroughly examined the facts about Low and his resources and got the okay from his team at the studio. He said, “I conducted a thorough review and found out that Low had legal funds meant for investing in movies”.

DiCaprio remembers speaking with Low and that Low shared his plan of donating $20-30 million to Obama’s reelection campaign. DiCaprio said, surprised, “Wow that’s a lot of money!”

After DiCaprio, lots of people said that Michel asked them to give money to the Obama campaign even though he had reached his legal limit for giving donations. Richard Kromica, who works in banking, mentioned this and said Michel gave him and his husband Joseph $80,000 to donate.

Some of Michel’s acquaintances were asked to go to high-level events for raising money, like for Obama’s campaign. For example, Jack Brewer, who used to play in the NFL, was sent $32,000 by Michel and his friends as a payment for entry into one fundraising dinner. However, Jack got scared when he received the money so he returned it.

Brewer said, “It felt weird to me. Why are you giving me money and not asking for it back? That seemed suspicious.”

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