Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Penn: Wyclef Jean's Bid to Be President of Haiti Is Obscene

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Penn: Wyclef Jean's Bid to Be President of Haiti Is Obscene

Article excerpt

Byline: Alistair Foster

RAPPER Wyclef Jean's bid to become president of his native Haiti has come under attack by film star Sean Penn.

The actor, who runs his own Haitian charity in the capital Port-au-Prince, criticised the musician's "obscene" display of wealth during a visit.

Penn also said he believed Jean was encouraged to seek the presidency by US firms with an interest in the Caribbean country -- devastated by an earthquake that killed 230,000 people, injured 300,000 and made 1.5 million homeless on January 12.

He said it was vital to beware of "corporate interests that may be opportunists on the back of the Haitian people" and added: "I see in Wyclef Jean someone who could well have been influenced by the promise of support from companies."

Yesterday's submission of his candidacy for president by the former Fugees frontman coincided with allegations that he owes more than $2 million in US taxes. Earlier, fraud claims surrounded his charity Yele Haiti. Jean denies wrongdoing but has quit the board. His reassurance failed to convince Penn, who recently spent six months in Haiti running a tent camp for 55,000 people.

"I'm very suspicious of it simply because he, as an ambassador at large, has been virtually silent," he said. …

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