Leonardo DiCaprio is the star witness in the Fugees star Pras Michel’s 1MDB money laundering trial and according to reports, Leonardo mounted the witness box and testified for the prosecution via the Daily Mail;
Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio gave bombshell testimony in court for the prosecution in federal court on Monday morning as part of hip-hop star Pras Michel’s money laundering trial with the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). DiCaprio’s involvement in the case stems from the money behind his film ‘The Wolf of Wall Street,’ which was in part funded by the man who allegedly masterminded the 1MDB plot.
Prakazrel ‘Pras’ Michel is a founding member of 90s group The Fugees. He is accused of funneling money from fugitive Malaysian financer Jho Low through donors to former President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign.
Prosecutors allege that Michel attempted to illegally lobby both the Obama and Trump administrations by using funds given to him by Low that were stolen millions from the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund.
DiCaprio, the prosecution’s star witness, told the court that Michel attended lavish parties thrown by Low – including a New Year’s Eve celebration in Australia and then Las Vegas. In the center of the case is Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low. The financer is accused of being the brains behind an international money laundering and bribery scheme that stole billions of dollars from the Malaysian state investment fund known as 1MDB.
Low is currently a fugitive, but has maintained his innocence. Michel, according to prosecutors, became a vessel for Low’s stolen millions and his attempts to influence the government of the United States.
It is alleged that from June to November of 2012, Low directed more than $21.6million from foreign accounts to Michel’s accounts in order to funnel money into Obama’s 2012 campaign coffers. Michel then supposedly used the money to pay 20 donors to pass the money to the campaign in their names and hide its true origins.
On Monday, DiCaprio, 48, testified in Washington, DC that he met and became buddies with Low at a birthday party in Las Vegas in 2010. ‘I understood him to be a huge businessman with many different connection in Abu Dhabi and Malaysia,’ said the A-lister. The Oscar winner answered questions calmly on the stand and said that in addition to his relationship with Low, he had known Michel since sometime in the 90s, when they had met backstage after a Fugees concert.
While he was still riding high, Low was known to throw lavish parties around the world, often featuring celebrity guests. He flew groups on his private jet to events like the World Cup. Michel, testified DiCaprio, was present on some of those trips, one of which included jetting to Australia for New Year’s Eve and then jetting to Las Vegas to ring in the New Year a second time. Low built a relationship with DiCaprio via charitable donations to his foundation and eventually offered to provide the primary financing for ‘The Wolf of Wall Street.’
The movie star testified that Low’s funding was vetted and he was ‘given the green light by my team as well as my studio.’ ‘He was a legitimate business person wanting to invest in the movie,’ he said.
DiCaprio also recalled a conversation during which Low said he intended to make a large contribution to Obama’s reelection effort. ‘It was a significant sum – something to the tune of $20-$30 million,’ he said. ‘I said, wow that’s a lot of money!’ The Wolf of Wall Street had a reported budget of $100million and grossed a total of more than $400million worldwide when it was released in 2013.
It was nominated for five Academy Awards and gives special thanks to Jho Low in the credits. The film’s production company, Red Granite, agreed to pay the US government $60million but admit no wrongdoing as part of a larger effort by the feds to seize close to $1.7billion in assets allegedly purchased with stolen 1MDB funds.
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