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U.S. Entertainer/Businessman and Malaysian National Charged with Back-Channel Lobbying Campaign to Drop 1MDB Investigation and Remove Chinese Dissident from U.S.


On June 10, 2021, a U.S. Entertainer and a Malaysian National were charged in a Superseding Indictment with, among other things, conspiring to commit money laundering related to foreign influence campaigns.  Prakazrel “Pras” Michel and Low Take Jho, aka Jho Low, were indicted in the District of Columbia.  According to the Superseding Indictment, beginning in or about 2017, Michel and Low orchestrated an unregistered, back-channel campaign to influence the then-administration of the President of the United States and the Department of Justice both to drop the investigation of Low and others in connection with the international strategic and development company known as 1Malaysia Development Berhad, and to send a Chinese dissident back to China.  Michel was also charged with, among other things, witness tampering, conspiracy to make false statements to banks, and conspiring to serve as an Unregistered Agent of a Foreign Principal, and Low was also charged with, among other things, aiding and abetting the unregistered actions of others as agents of a foreign principal.  A former DOJ employee and co-conspirator previously pleaded guilty for his role in the scheme on November 30, 2018, in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.  The investigation is being conducted by the OIG’s Cyber Investigations Office and the FBI.  

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