Fugees Reunion Tour Halted by Federal Charges Against Pras Michel for Alleged Money Laundering

September 1, 2022
Fugees Reunion Tour Halted by Federal Charges Against Pras Michel for Alleged Money Laundering

Photo by B+

Despite multiple claims about the Fugees canceling their highly-anticipated reunion tour due to challenges presented by COVID-19, a new report has indicated it was federal charges against Pras Michel that ultimately ended the would be run.

Back in 2019, Michel pleaded not guilty to charges of falsifying records and conspiracy from his alleged role in a Malaysian wealth fund’s campaign finance violations. The fund in question, 1MDB, was run by Low Taek Jho, often called Jho Low, who is accused of stealing from the Malaysian wealth fund’s $4.5 billion “Slush Fund.” Michel reportedly was paid at least $8 million and up to $40 million in his role assisting Low.

In June of 2021, the Fugees member was handed additional charges related to an attempt to lobby the Trump administration to drop its investigation into 1MDB fund and Low, as well as, lobbying for the Justice Department to return Chinese Billionaire and dissenter Guo Wengui back to China.

Despite the charges, just three months later, in Sept. 2021, Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean, and Michel performed at Pier 17 in New York City after announcing their reunion tour, which was at first postponed and eventually canceled completely, citing that the “continued Covid pandemic has made touring conditions difficult.”

However, according to Puck, it was the Justice Department that would not allow Michel to leave on an international tour, which included performances in Paris and London. According to Puck, Michel rejected a plea deal that would have led to a charge of obstruction of justice, a 16-month prison sentence and financial retribution to Malaysia over the money he received from Low through the 1MDB fund.

Michel’s federal trial will take place in Washington, D.C., beginning on Nov. 4. It’s notable that while the Fugees scrapped their reunion tour plans, Wyclef and Hill did perform at New Orleans’ Essence Festival in July sans Michel.