Remember how hype hip hop fans got last year when The Fugees announced a long-awaited reunion tour...but then wound up canceling it? It was postponed to early 2022, but quashed altogether because of COVID-19 concerns, according to a statement from the band. Now the real reason for the decision has come to light.
Puck has reported that member Pras Michel’s federal charges of conspiracy and falsifying records was why the tour, which spanned only 12 dates, was canceled. Ultimately, the Justice Department wouldn’t let him do an international tour due to his upcoming federal trial in November.
Back in 2019, the rapper pleaded not guilty to the federal charges which came from a supposed relationship to Malaysian mogul Jho Low and his wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). Michel was on a long list of people the Justice Department says had connections to 1MDB and Low, who appears to have stolen $4.5 billion.
Michel is being accused of transferring a large sum of money from Low into the Barack Obama 2012 presidential campaign. In addition, Michel received charges in June 2021 after allegedly having ties to a back channel campaign to stop the Trump administration from investigating 1MDB and Low.
Despite all of this, the Fugees still announced a highly anticipated international tour. Michel is scheduled to go on trial in September. He was recently offered a plea deal. He rejected it. But if he agreed, he would have received a 16-month prison sentence and financial retribution to Malaysia.
However, the artist has pleaded not guilty to all charges. It’ll be interesting to see how this all unfolds.