July 14, 2024 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Justice Department Reaches Settlement in Corruption Case Involving Holmby Hills Mansion

Holmby Hills Property Linked to Former Armenian Official to Be Sold

The Justice Department announced today that it has reached a settlement in a civil forfeiture case involving a mansion in the Holmby Hills area of Los Angeles owned by the family of Gagik Khachatryan, a former government official from Armenia.

In 2011, a trust benefiting Khachatryan’s sons purchased the property using funds provided by an Armenian businessman. At the time, Khachatryan was the highest-ranking official overseeing taxes and customs in Armenia. While Khachatryan’s sons claimed the funds were loans from the businessman, the United States alleged that these loans, which were repeatedly extended without repayment, were actually bribe payments. These payments are also the subject of ongoing criminal prosecutions in Armenia.

Under the settlement terms, the mansion will be forfeited to the United States, which will then sell the property at the highest market price. The United States will retain 85% of the net proceeds from the sale, with the remaining 15% going to Khachatryan’s sons and a corporation they own. The Attorney General has the authority to transfer forfeited property to any foreign country involved in the seizure or forfeiture. The offices involved in this case plan to recommend that some or all of the proceeds be transferred to Armenia.

“We do not tolerate corruption in the United States, and we will not allow foreign officials to use our country to facilitate their own corruption,” said United States Attorney Martin Estrada. “Our recovery of these ill-gotten gains should send a message to corrupt officials throughout the world that they will find no safe harbor here.”

The FBI’s Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force (EOCTF) and the U.S. Marshals Service investigated the case. The EOCTF includes agencies such as the FBI, IRS-Criminal Investigation, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Glendale Police Department, Los Angeles Police Department, and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs, Armenia’s Prosecutor General’s Office, and Armenian investigative authorities also provided critical assistance.

Assistant United States Attorney Maxwell Coll of the Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes Section and Trial Attorney Hunter Smith of the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section (MLARS) prosecuted the case.

The Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, led by MLARS in partnership with federal law enforcement agencies and U.S. Attorney’s Offices, aims to forfeit the proceeds of foreign official corruption. Individuals with information about potential proceeds of foreign corruption in the United States are encouraged to contact federal law enforcement or send tips to kleptocracy@usdoj.gov or https://tips.fbi.gov.

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