Elliott Broidy, the former finance vice chairman of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, is back in the news following court filings in a separate case involving an ex-Justice Department employee.
In those filings, reported by The New York Times, Broidy, who is listed as “Person 1” or “Individual 1,” allegedly was paid about $6 million in laundered money to lobby U.S. officials on behalf of Jho Low, a Malaysian financier accused of looting at least $4.5 billion from a Malaysian development fund.
Broidy reportedly was hired to make the case against Low go away in the U.S. and to prevent the U.S. government from seizing Low’s stolen assets. However, the fugitive financier was charged in August with eight counts of money laundering. He is believed to be in China.
Here’s where it gets weird: According to the Times, one of the middlemen who set up the deal with Low and Broidy was Fugees rapper Pras Michel. Michel allegedly worked with the ex-Justice Department employee, George Higginbotham, to arrange the transfer of millions of dollars from Low to a law firm owned by Broidy’s wife.
Per the Times:
In March 2017, Mr. Low’s associates were looking to retain “someone with political influence,” according to a Friday filing. Their goal was to help him deflect efforts by American authorities to seize assets bought with money he was accused of siphoning from [development fund] 1MDB, and to end the Justice Department investigation into his activities, according to the filings. They indicate that, after Mr. Low expressed interest in hiring Mr. Broidy and Ms. Rosenzweig’s law firm, Mr. Michel met with Mr. Broidy and an associate “and explained Jho Low’s situation in the 1MDB matters.”
Broidy asked for $15 million in exchange for his services, but Michel reportedly negotiated that down to $8 million, the report said. Eventually, $6 million was transferred to his wife’s law firm. According to prosecutors, accounts were set up to “disguise the true source, origin and purpose of the funds,” the court filings said.
Broidy, his wife, Robin Rosenzweig, and Michel have not been charged in this latest development, which stems from a guilty plea by Higginbotham to charges that he conspired to lie about the source of millions of dollars Low allegedly transferred to the U.S.
Broidy, one of Trump’s and the GOP’s former top fundraisers, also allegedly paid former Playboy model Shera Bechard $1.6 million in hush money to hide an abortion and four-year extramarital affair that Bechard described in court documents as abusive. That payment was brokered by Trump’s former fixer, Michael Cohen.
According to the Times, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team is looking into all of this.