During his federal conspiracy trial last week, Pras Michel testified to being an “informal FBI informant” and voluntarily meeting with FBI agents on multiple occasions.
The meetings were set to discuss Guo Wengui, Chinese billionaire, Jho Low, Malaysian financier and current fugitive, and 3 American hostages in China. Regarding said meetings, Michel says “I took it upon myself to report because I thought the FBI should know.”
Michel is facing numerous charges related to conspiracy and falsifying records; however, he has pled not guilty to these extra charges. Many of the charges stem from Michel’s involvement with Low and the crimes that Low has allegedly committed, including stealing $4.5 billion from Malaysia’s 1MDB sovereign wealth fund.
Prosecutors say that Michel was able to pocket millions of dollars from Low during the presidential administrations of both Barack Obama and Donald Trump. Since they met in 2006, Michel called himself a “celebrity surrogate” for Low and admitted to being paid $20 million for a photo with Obama some 6 years later. Michel says that his initial involvement with Low was only due to his interest in entering politics “to help people.”
Despite his initial intent, prosecutors are accusing him of working with Low for many years and illegally directing money into political campaigns and administrations. Although Pras Michel maintains his innocence and remains to say he never made political contributions on Low’s behalf, if convicted he could face up to 22 years in federal prison. Closing arguments were made last week and the jury is set for deliberations today.