Pras Accused of Taking Part in International Conspiracy
While Pras hasn't been particularly active on the music scene, having only put out three solo projects in the last 20 years, he has been operating outside of hip-hop in politics and business. Some of that business may have been illegal according to the federal government, as he has been accused of taking part in a conspiracy involving funneling money to a Malaysian fugitive in order to influence numerous Justice Department investigations.
On Friday (Nov. 30), prosecutors filed documents in federal district court in Washington D.C, accusing Pras, born Prakazrel Michel, of conspiracy along with former Justice Department official George Higginbotham, reports ABC News.
According to the court documents, this conspiracy has been playing out over several years. It started with the investment company 1Malaysia Development Berhad, created by the Malaysian government. Over the years, the companies funds have been misused to the tune of $4.5 billion. That money has been laundered into bank accounts in the U.S. and elsewhere, the documents allege.
The Justice Department stepped in and attempted to freeze the funds and charged Malaysian financier Jho Low for being part of the plot by bribing officials to look the other way. The court papers go on to claim Low recruited Pras who brought on Higginbotham to help disguise campaign's connections.
When the government didn't back down, the trio then reportedly requested the U.S. government to deport a foreign national who had been critical of his home government. To make that happen, someone is said to have approached an unnamed political candidate who was running for office at the time possibly with a bribe. That candidate did not get elected, according to the report.
Prosecutors allege Pras was paid for his part in the scheme by millions of dollars that were illegally funneled in by Higginbotham through shell companies and falsified documents. In 2017, prosecutors believe Pras ordered Higginbotham to send an email to a major bank insisting that certain funds were being transferred from a legal company overseas in order to fund an entertainment venture. Higginbotham admitted in court that money was actually intended to fund Low's efforts.
Higginbotham was charged with conspiracy to make false statements to a bank, last week. He entered a guilty plea to the charges on Friday. Pras has yet to be charged with a crime, but could be in the future with a Justice Department spokesperson saying “It’s an ongoing investigation.” Low is still at large.
XXL has reached out to Pras' team for comment.
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