A former Armenian politician seeking $63.5 million for his L.A. mansion will get nothing if the Feds get their way.
In a civil suit filed in district court Monday, the Justice Department alleges Gagik Khachatryan, 66, bought his 30,000-square-foot Holmby Hills mega-mansion with bribes from an Armenian businessman while Khachatryan was a high-ranking Armenian official, according to a press release.
The estate, designed by Richard Landry, an architect known as the “King of the Megamansion” who has worked on estates for celebrities such as Mark Wahlberg, Tom Brady and Wayne Gretzky, has 11 bedrooms and 27 bathrooms and six parking garages. The three-story mansion also has a pool and changing cabana. The mansion’s spa has an in-ground hot tub and residents can enjoy a view of the city’s lights, according to Zillow.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, listing agent Richard Maslan of Hilton & Hyland said the FBI is allowing him to show the home.
“If we receive an offer and both the seller and the Justice Department agree on a sale price, we can still sell it,” Maslan said.
Khachatryan, known as the “super minister” because of his significant government responsibilities in Armenia, served as the country’s Chairman of the State Revenue Committee from 2008 to 2014, as well as its finance minister from 2014 to 2016. The Justice Department claims Khachatryan and his family accepted more than $20 million in bribes from a businessman named Sedrak Arustamyan in exchange for favorable tax treatment for Arustamyan’s companies.
Khachatryan and his sons are facing criminal charges in their native country for allegedly accepting bribes, and Arustamyan is also facing bribery charges there.
The case, being heard at the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, was investigated by the FBI’s Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force and the U.S. Marshals Service. 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.
Proving criminality in asset forfeitures cases can take years and sometimes depends on how well-funded a defendant is. It took the U.S. more than five years to help retrieve $300 million stolen from Nigeria by former dictator Sani Abacha, and a money laundering case against former Ukrainian Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko lasted more than15 years due to his well-financed defense.