A recent trial in Washington, D.C. has shed light on an influence scheme by a Chinese-connected Malaysian financier to potentially funnel millions of dollars to the 2012 re-election campaign of then-President Barack Obama.
Actor Leonardo DiCaprio testified on Monday that the financier, Jho Low, had told him that he wanted to donate up to $30 million to Obama’s re-election effort. DiCaprio had known Low because they had partied together and Low had financed one of DiCaprio’s films.
Leonardo DiCaprio testifies for prosecution at Fugees star Pras Michel’s 1MDB money laundering trial where ‘mastermind Jho Low who financed Wolf of Wall St moved $26.1 million into rapper’s accounts to funnel into Obama’s 2012 election campaign’ https://t.co/Q9Nysgodhd pic.twitter.com/z2UzbxxH2i
— Matt Davio (@MissTrade) April 3, 2023
According to The Guardian,
DiCaprio also recalled a “casual conversation” with Low in which Low told him he intended to make a large contribution to Obama’s re-election campaign.
“It was a significant sum – something to the tune of $20-30m,” he testified. “I said, ‘Wow that’s a lot of money!’”
Low has been accused of having embezzled $4.5 billion from Malaysia’s state investment fund. He is reportedly hiding out in China, making it impossible for Malaysia to detain him.
In order to make the donations to the Obama campaign, prosecutors allege that Low enlisted Pras Michel of the music group “The Fugees” to act as a middleman. Michel is accused of having received $21.6 million in payments from foreign accounts linked to Low, which he then paid out to roughly 20 straw donors from June to November 2012. The straw donors were expected to make contributions to the Obama campaign in their names, so the money would not be traced back to Low.
After DiCaprio testified, more witnesses came forward and testified that they had been approached to make shadow donations to the Obama campaign. They also alleged that Michel and others had tried to interfere in the Trump administration’s investigation of Low, but that effort failed.
Leonardo DiCaprio testified in the federal criminal trial of rapper Pras Michel, who is accused of participating in a scheme to lobby Washington on behalf of the Chinese government and Malaysian financier Jho Low https://t.co/6sEQdRA4Sp pic.twitter.com/K3uWCkzcao
— Reuters (@Reuters) April 4, 2023