The New York Post reports that actor Leonardo DiCaprio just implicated former President Barack Obama in a $30 million money-funneling scheme involving an international fugitive.
DiCaprio did so on Monday when he testified in the federal trial of Prakazrel “Pras” Michel, the 1990s rap artist who founded the hip-hop group known as The Fugees.
Michel stands accused of conspiracy, witness tampering, failing to register as an agent of China, and more.
These charges stem from his connection to the international fugitive Jho Low. Low, according to National Public Radio (NPR), "allegedly bilked Malaysia's sovereign wealth fund of billions of dollars to fill his own pockets and curry favor with celebrities and American presidents. "
Michele stands accused of helping Low to use his money to try to influence at least two American presidents: Obama and former President Donald Trump.
Regarding Obama, it is alleged that Low, with Michel's assistance, tried to funnel money into Obama's reelection campaign.
And, regarding Trump, it is alleged that Michel worked to try to get Trump to stop investigating Low.
The prosecution specifically implicates Michel in two different schemes. Here is how NPR describes one of those schemes:
[A]n illegal plan to enlist people to attend a fundraising dinner for Barack Obama during the 2012 presidential campaign; reimburse them $40,000 apiece using foreign sources of money for the cost of the tickets; and then threatening some of them if they came clean to authorities.
Here's the second:
The second plan allegedly involved a secret lobbying campaign to help the billionaire Low lean on American justice officials and White House officials when his fraud scheme unraveled — and to help the Chinese government "secure the return" of a dissident who was living inside the U.S. and developing close ties with former Trump adviser Steve Bannon.
DiCaprio was called upon to testify in the case because of his own connection to Low.
DiCaprio believed Low to be "a huge businessman" with lots of connections. And so, DiCaprio sought to team up with Low. Low, reportedly, donated to DiCaprio's charity as well as to Wolf of Wall Street film.
Apparently, Low and DiCaprio often partied together. And, DiCaprio testified, this week, about a conversation he had with Low on one of these occasions. DiCaprio said:
It was a causal 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. It was a significant sum… something to the tune of $20-30 million. I said, "Wow, that's a lot of money!"
Such a "contribution" would be a violation of election law.
How much Obama and the Democrats knew about all of this remains unclear.