Leonardo DiCaprio has testified against Pras Michel in the rapper’s conspiracy and witness tampering trial amid allegations of working with a Malaysian businessman on an international campaign-finance scheme.
On Monday (April 3), DiCaprio, who is not accused of any wrongdoing, was asked of his history with Pras, who the actor says he met at a Fugees concert in the mid ’90s. According to DiCaprio, he and Pras attended the same parties on numerous occasions and Michel possibly spent a Thanksgiving holiday at his home, although he admits his “memory does not serve” that particular occasion.
While the Oscar winner gave context to his relationship with Michel, most of his hour-long testimony revolved around his dealings with Jho Low, the tycoon Michel is accused of working in tandem with as part of the conspiracy. DiCaprio recalls meeting Low around 2010 at his birthday party in Las Vegas after being introduced by former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak. According to the 41-year-old, he was impressed by Low’s reputation of being “sort of a prodigy in the business world and ultra-successful.”
The pair hit it off, with DiCaprio offering to make a “significant contribution” to the Democratic Party ahead of the 2012 presidential election. However, when Low suggested a sum between $20 and $30 million dollars to assist in the Democrats’ campaign efforts, DiCaprio was taken aback by the amount. “I basically said, ‘Wow, that’s a lot of money,'” The Revenant actor stated.
Low would later offer to help finance a movie for DiCaprio, which turned out to be the hit 2013 film Wolf of Wall Street, which prosecutors say he helped fund using money laundered from 1MDB, a sovereign wealth fund, through a Los Angeles-based movie production company, Red Granite Pictures. The acclaimed thespian says he severed ties with Low in 2015 after his team discovered allegations of Low using “illegal funding from Malaysia and a multitude of other places” for his endeavors.
Michel and Low have both been charged, but Low remains at large, with Michel facing trial alone. The rapper, who plead not guilty on all charges, recently spoke with Rolling Stone about his legal ordeal, admitting that he never intended for his political aspirations to transpire in this manner. “I was one of those people who was just dabbling. I never thought I would be full time into politics,” he expressed. “I realized politics is not for me. The problem with politics is this: It’s that the people within politics, they’re dirtier than the people who are not in politics.”
If convicted, Michel faces up to 22 years in prison.