The Real Deal Miami

Flatotel developers allegedly urged witnesses to lie in tax evasion case

May 20, 2010 04:30PM

The Flatotel at 135 West 52nd Street

The Miami Beach-based developers behind the Flatotel hotel brand coached witnesses to lie in a civil lawsuit related to the 2000 sale of the New York Flatotel according to a Justice Department filing today arguing against granting them bail. Mauricio Cohen Assor and his son, Leon Cohen Levy were arrested last month on charges that they hid around $33 million in proceeds from the sale by transferring it to an account at HSBC Holdings. The latest filing alleges that the pair coached four witnesses in the case to memorize scripts that helped them conceal their scheme. In exchange, they “promised the individuals that their retirement would be taken care of,” the filing says. The Cohens had planned to built two 93-story Empire World Towers at 330 Biscayne Boulevard in Miami, but the project crashed along with the real estate market.[BusinessWeek]