One month after Agency co-founder Mauricio Umansky was hit with a federal lawsuit for allegedly conspiring with another investor to underpay for a Malibu mansion then flip the property, he has countersued. Umansky also sought to dismiss the initial charges.
But a judge has allowed the first case to proceed, and now with Umansky’s counterclaim, the legal turmoil surrounding the case shows no signs of letting up.
In the initial June complaint against Umansky, Western World Insurance claimed he misled the owner of the Malibu mansion into selling the property to Mauricio Oberfeld for below market value. Umansky also invested in the home. The insurance company sued, seeking relief from having to pay any damages to the seller for the lost proceeds.
Umansky and Oberfeld later flipped the home for $70 million, more than double what they paid, according to Western World’s suit. The insurance company also alleges Umansky hid higher offers on the property.
But according to Umanksy’s countersuit, he “did exactly what he was retained to do” by selling the 15,000-square-foot mansion on Sweetwater Road in Malibu to Oberfeld. “He sold the Sweetwater Property with virtually no publicity, under a strict deadline, and at a price above the appraised value,” according to the countersuit, filed late last month.
Umansky was tapped as the listing agent to sell the property in May 2015. The seller, Teodoro Nguema Obiang, the son of Equatorial Guinea president Teodoro Obiang, had struck a deal with the U.S. government that required he sell the property and give proceeds of the sales to both his native country and the United States.
U.S. prosecutors accused the younger Obiang of using stolen funds to purchase a number of lavish assets, including the mansion in Malibu.
In the counter-complaint, Umansky called the sale of the mansion “unique.”
“The entire transaction was subject to the terms of a settlement agreement between the U.S. and the seller, and every aspect of the transaction was reviewed and approved by the U.S. Department of Justice,” the suit alleges.
Umansky is requesting reimbursement for any legal costs incurred, as well as compensatory and punitive damages.