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U.S. Entertainer Convicted of Engaging in Foreign Influence Campaign


On April 26, 2023, a non-DOJ individual was found guilty on all counts as charged following a four-week trial by jury.  Prakazrel “Pras” Michel was convicted in the District of Columbia of ten counts.  According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Michel orchestrated an unregistered, back-channel lobbying campaign to influence the DOJ’s investigation into 1Malaysia Development Berhad favorably for a foreign national, and to return a Chinese National to the People’s Republic of China (PRC), all on behalf of the foreign national and the Government of the PRC.  Michel was also convicted of funneling over $1.5 million dollars of foreign campaign contributions into the 2012 U.S. presidential election.  Former DOJ employee George Higginbotham previously pleaded guilty for his role in the scheme and is pending sentencing.  The investigation is being conducted by the OIG’s Cyber Investigations Office and the FBI, with forensic accounting assistance provided by the OIG's Fraud Detection Office.

Press Release
Case Action
Conviction by Trial