Justice Department Seeks Forfeiture of Los Angeles Mega-Mansion Purchased with Proceeds of Armenian Corruption Scheme
Posted on May. 6. 2022
United States is seeking the forfeiture of a more than
30,000-square-foot mega-mansion in the Holmby Hills neighborhood of Los
Angeles, pursuant to a civil forfeiture complaint filed that alleges
that the mansion was purchased with bribes paid by an Armenian
businessman to the family of Gagik Khachatryan, a former high-ranking
Armenian public official.
Khachatryan, 66, who was known as the “Super Minister,” because of his
significant responsibilities, served as Chairman of the State Revenue
Committee of the Republic of Armenia from 2008 to 2014 and as Minister
of Finance for the Republic of Armenia from 2014 to 2016. In the
complaint, which was filed Monday in U.S. District Court for the Central
District of California, the United States alleges that businessman
Sedrak Arustamyan paid Khachatryan and his family more than $20 million
in bribes in exchange for favorable tax treatment of his businesses. The
bribe payments allegedly were used to purchase the Holmby Hills
property, which had been recently listed for sale for $63,500,000.
Khachatryan and his sons are charged in Armenia with receiving bribes
in violation of the criminal code of the Republic of Armenia. Criminal
charges are also pending in Armenia against Arustamyan for paying
matter was investigated by the FBI’s Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force
(EOCTF) and the U.S. Marshals Service. The Republic of Armenia’s
Prosecutor General’s Office and National Security Service provided
critical assistance. The EOCTF is composed of multiple law enforcement
agencies including the FBI, IRS-Criminal Investigation, the U.S. Postal
Inspection Service, the Glendale Police Department, the Los Angeles
Police Department, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Attorney D. Hunter Smith of the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative
of the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section
and Assistant U.S. Attorney Maxwell Coll for the Central District of
California are litigating the forfeiture.
Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative is led by a team of dedicated
prosecutors in the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset
Recovery Section, in partnership with federal law enforcement agencies,
and often with U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, to forfeit the proceeds of
foreign official corruption and, where appropriate, to use those
recovered assets to benefit the people harmed by these acts of
corruption and abuse of office. In 2015, the FBI formed International
Corruption Squads across the country to address national and
international implications of foreign corruption. Individuals with
information about possible proceeds of foreign corruption located in or
laundered through the United States should contact federal law
enforcement or send an email to email@example.com or visit https://tips.fbi.gov/.
civil complaint is merely an allegation, and the government has the
burden of establishing the assets are subject to forfeiture by a
preponderance of the evidence.