Controversial rapper Bushido, whose real name is Anis Mohamed Youssef Ferchichi, has ties to a Palestinian-Lebanese mafia family, German English-language outlet TheLocal.de reported on Friday. The 34-year-old native German (his father is Tunisian) is best known for explicit tracks that espouse violence, homophobia, misogyny and anti-Semitism and has sold 1.5 million albums in Germany as of 2009, according to the Local.
The connection between Bushido and the mafia was revealed earlier this week by German weekly magazine Stern, which printed a document dating back to 2010 showing Bushido had hired a close friend, business partner and known member of an extended mafia family to be his lawyer.
The Local reported that Bushido and his friend, identified as Arafat Abu-Chaker, own multiple businesses together that are constantly opening, closing and changing addresses -- a common camouflage technique mafia bosses adopt to hide their fronts. German police estimate that this particular mafia family has about 300 members in Berlin alone.
Bushido is not one to avoid controversy, although he has yet to make a statement to address these issues. One song on his first album included the words “we beat up every f----t.” Another album contained threatening lyrics about imprisoning women “like Natascha Kampusch,” a young Austrian girl who was kidnapped at age 10 and kept imprisoned by a man for almost a decade.
In January, he tweeted a picture of the Middle East overlaid with Palestinian colors and the message “Free Palestine.” Israel was not indicated on the map. The tweet drew harsh criticism and a response from the Israeli embassy in Berlin, which said it was “proud” to be among his victims.
Maya covers the U.N., Europe, and the Middle East for IBTimes. She joined the company in July 2012 after having previously worked with DNAinfo.com and Gawker.