Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio testified in a federal trial on Monday in the case against former Fugees member Pras Michel who is accused of being involved in a Malaysian money-funneling scheme.
DiCaprio was brought to the witness stand because he has connections to Low Taek Jho, aka Jho Low, a Malaysian businessman who is accused of stealing billions of dollars from a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad.
Low is reported to have helped fund DiCaprio’s 2013 film ‘The Wolf of Wall Street,” and allegedly donated to DiCaprio’s environmental foundations. DiCaprio, however, is not accused of any wrongdoing in the case.
In his testimony, DiCaprio stated that Low was known for throwing “lavish parties” that the rich and famous from around the world attended.
Around 2010, DiCaprio was at a party with Low who told him that he was going to contribute upward of $20 million to the 2012 presidential election. More specifically, Barack Obama’s campaign.
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DiCaprio said, “It was a casual conversation about what party he was in support of. I told him what party I was in support of. And he told me that he, or he and a group, were going to make a significant contribution to the Democratic Party… I said ‘wow, that’s a lot of money.'”
DiCaprio met Michel when he was on tour with his rap trio Fugees, and the two became friends.
Michel is currently accused of using stolen Malaysian funds from Low to reelect Barack Obama in 2012. Michel allegedly received over $100 million from Low to enlist attendees for an Obama fundraising dinner, and lobbied the Trump administration officials to drop an investigation into Low.
It is against the law for foreign money to be used in presidential elections. Obama, however, is not being held accountable for these donations, since Low and Michel allegedly created shell companies and straw donors to donate to the presidential campaign.
The rapper’s defense lawyers, however, have insisted that he was just a big supporter of Obama and did not mean to break any laws, nor was a foreign agent of China.
If convicted, Michel faces decades in prison.