Kanye West‘s one-time friend and associate Malik Yusef has been accused of forging the singer’s signature in a $2.5 million fraud lawsuit brought by Gentle Monster, an eyewear company based out of South Korea.
Gentle Monster said in court docs that Yusef, a 48-year-old Chicago native, falsely led them to believe the Runaway singer, 41, would be the centerpiece of an advertising campaign for the brand, including the creation of a video, TMZ reported Thursday.
The company told the court that Yusef arranged for one of the company’s officials to meet with Kanye, giving the false impression the Grammy-winner was involved in the business proposal.
The complaint filed on Thursday alleges that Yusef: ‘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, who worked with Kanye on his G.O.O.D. Music label, allegedly said he could get stars including Pharrell and Jaden Smith involved with the project, the company told the court.
Yusef went to great extent to sell his ruse over a nine-month period, Gentle Monster said, including documents that had signatures forged to resemble West’s; and professional looking invoices from entertainment businesses.
Gentle Monster said that the deal fell apart this past February when Yusef turned in a video that had none of the elements they had requested for their advertising campaign.
Yusef listed both West and Pharrell as writers on the producers on the project, and Gentle Monster advertised it as such.
The purported house of cards fell when Kanye’s wife Kim Kardashian took to Twitter to tell more than 60 million followers that West had nothing to do with the ad campaign.
‘This is not true. Kanye is not involved and did not produce this song,’ said Kim, which led to the company killing the campaign.
Yusef was linked to a second Kanye forgery scandal in February over a concert he was brokering to occur at Philipp Plein’s New York Fashion Week show, taking $750,000 from the designer but giving it back once it was established plans were off, the outlet reported.
West’s rep told the outlet, ‘Malik Yusef is certainly in no position to negotiate a deal, receive money, or forge Kanye’s signature or sign any contracts on his behalf.’