Leonardo DiCaprio may testify AGAIN in Fugees founder Pras Michel's money laundering trial
WASHNGTON DC, WASHINGTON: Leonardo DiCaprio might have to return to the court again to testify as he is listed as a witness in the federal trial of Fugees founding member Pras Michel. The latter is accused of indulging in a multi-billion-dollar money laundering scheme that helped fund DiCaprio's blockbuster film 'The Wolf of Wall Street'. The actor has previously testified in Washington DC but could be brought back as the court documents mention his name.
Back in 2019, the 47-year-old actor testified in court as a witness to the scheme that involved the 2013 blockbuster film DiCaprio produced with Martin Scorsese. Michel's trial, which is due to begin on November 4. Michel, 49, is a rapper known for his association with hip-hop groups like Fugees. However, he got involved with Jho Low, a 40-year-old Malaysian businessman turned fugitive who embezzled billions from the Malaysian state run economic development fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad. The documents explain that Michel allegedly received between $8 million and $40 million for his role in assisting Low. Other people on the witness list include three Trump White House staffers - former chief of staff John Kelly, former deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger, and former national security advisor HR McMaster.
A spokesperson for the actor said at the time that he was working with investigators "to determine whether he or his foundation, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, ever received any gifts or charitable donations directly or indirectly related to these parties and if so, to return those gifts or donations as soon as possible. Both Mr DiCaprio and LDF continue to be entirely supportive of all efforts to assure that justice is done in this matter. Mr DiCaprio is grateful for the lead and instruction of the government on how to accomplish this," as reported by Daily Mail.
Michel is accused of defrauding the US government by transferring over $21 million of overseas funds. The Washington Post explains that almost $1 million of this money was channeled into former President Barack Obama's 2012 election campaign through 20 donors in order to avoid detection. Even though it is unclear how much money Michel provided for the whopping $100 million budget of 'Wolf of Wall Street', DiCaprio got sucked into the scam unknowingly.
For Michel, things got serious when he was charged with lobbying the Trump administration to drop the investigation into him and Low in June 2021. The US government's witness list includes 72 individuals, including DiCaprio. During the trial, the prosecutors are expected to detail a years-long influence campaign that began as early as 2012 with Michel helping Low inject his foreign wealth into that year's presidential election, specifically in support of Obama's reelection campaign.