An ex-friend and former collaborator of rapper Kanye West is being sued for millions, reports The Hollywood Reporter. Korean eyewear brand Gentle Monster is said to have filed a lawsuit against Malik Yusef for forging the famous rapper's signature in a series of fake contracts and invoices in a fraud that cost the company millions of dollars.
According to the company, Yusef claimed that Kanye had agreed to participate in a series of videos advertising Gentle Monster eyewear. In exchange for wiring Yuself $2.5 million, Gentle Monster asked for a written contract with Kanye's signature. It is alleged that Yuself forged this signature.
Lawyers for the South Korean fashion line slammed Yusef and his associates in a lawsuit filed on Thursday.
"Defendants' deception was both flagrant and brazen. Specifically, they forged Kanye's signature, created a shell entity named after Kanye's deceased mother, issued fraudulent invoices made to appear as though they had been issued by legitimate talent agencies, lied about their contacts and work with artists, and, in the end, pocketed more than $2.5 million from Gentle Monster."Yusef ended up releasing a video for the eyewear company in which he claimed that the music was produced by Kanye.
However, Kanye's wife, social media star Kim Kardashian, smacked down the falsehood on her Twitter account.The video has since been deleted. News that West was not involved in the video reportedly "stunned" the company.
In addition to the fraudulent video, Yusef also claimed that Kanye was interested in designing a line with Gentle Monster. Yusef then created a sham deal, and had the eyewear line wire half a million dollars to an account called Donda Social Agency, Inc.
Yusef told Gentle Monster that it was a charity created by Kanye in honor of his late mother when, in reality, it was a dummy account for Yusef and his crew.
The complaint alleged that Yusef also fooled the company by promising other talent as well.
"From their earliest interactions with Gentle Monster, defendants went out of their way to describe Yusef's star-studded connections... They never missed an opportunity to mention that Yusef routinely works with artists like Beyoncé and Kanye, that he tours with Jay-Z, or that he vacations with Pharrell Williams."This is not the first time the con man had used his former friendship with Kanye to scam unsuspecting victims. According to Page Six, Yusef told designer Philipp Plein that he was Kanye's rep and organized a deal in which the designer paid around $1 million to have the College Dropout artist perform at a fashion show.
Kanye was unaware of the deal, and did not perform.
Before the falling out, Yusef worked with Kanye on his G.O.O.D. Music label.