Barry Pollack, a lawyer for Michel, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. A Justice Department representative declined to comment.
The charges, as described, are an outgrowth of a sprawling Justice Department investigation into fraud and corruption at 1MDB, a wealth fund that was intended to promote economic development in Malaysia. It was instead treated like a massive slush fund by Jho Low, an adviser to Malaysia’s then-prime minister, Najib Razak, U.S. prosecutors have said.
“Mr. Low has never made any campaign contribution directly or indirectly in the United States,” according to a spokesman for him.
Low has already been charged by prosecutors in New York, who are also investigating Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the investment bank that helped raise more than $6 billion for the fund. One former Goldman banker, Tim Leissner, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges involving bribery and money laundering. Another former Goldman banker, Roger Ng, agreed to be extradited from Malaysia to New York this week, where he faces similar charges.
Prosecutors in Washington are leading the investigation into how 1MDB funds were used to influence government officials. In November, a former Justice Department employee pleaded guilty to one charge of bank fraud conspiracy for his role in setting up bank accounts that would allow Low to pay for lobbying activities in Washington.
That charge was related to conduct that occurred in 2017. That case referred to a “Co-conspirator A,” whose description matched that of Michel, a former member of the Fugees rap group. Jho Low was referred to as “Co-conspirator B.” The charges expected to be filed Friday concern earlier activities, from 2012.