NYC to auction Venezuelan media mogul’s Baccarat apartment

Raul Gorrin picked up 47th-floor residence for $18.8M in 2017

Raúl Gorrín and 20 West 53rd Street (Google Maps, iStock, Asilvabuena, CC BY-SA 4.0 - via Wikimedia Commons)
Raúl Gorrín and 20 West 53rd Street (Google Maps, iStock, Asilvabuena, CC BY-SA 4.0 - via Wikimedia Commons)

A Venezuela media mogul with ties to President Nicolas Maduro’s government is set to lose his New York City apartment in less than a month.

The city plans to auction Raul Gorrin’s 4,500-square-foot residence at the Baccarat Hotel & Residences on July 6, according to Reuters. Gorrin, owner of the Globovision television channel in Venezuela, purchased the Plaza District pad in November 2017 for $18.8 million.

Payment problems started for Gorrin after President Donald Trump’s administration sanctioned Gorrin in January 2019 in an effort to oust Maduro. Gorrin was accused of bribing his country’s treasury for the right to conduct currency exchanges that netted insiders billions.

At the time, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said there was an “illicit scheme that the Venezuelan regime had long used to steal from its people.”

Gorrin allegedly started missing payments after the sanctions were issued. The condo board said in lawsuits filed with New York state against Gorrin that he has missed more than $600,000 in monthly charges and late fees.

Gorrin claimed in a filing that sanctions prevented him from paying the monthly charges. The television mogul said he asked U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control for a license to pay, but was rejected; OFAC manages the country’s sanctions.

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In August 2020, the condo board won a court order to collect $185,000 from RIM Group, which owned the apartment and is controlled by Gorrin. The board is looking for another judgment for more recent payments.

The foreign assets office last year granted the board permission to sell the unit to collect the money.

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Gorrin is still facing criminal charges in Florida, but has not responded to the charges and remains a fugitive believed to be in Venezuela.

As of 2019, Gorrin had fled an 11-count indictment accusing him of conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by helping launder more than $1 billion in payoffs to Venezuelan officials starting in 2008.

Following one indictment unsealed in 2018, federal authorities sought to seize 24 properties supposedly tied to Gorrin. Those residences included luxury homes in Miami’s Cocoplum neighborhood, as well as a four-bedroom penthouse at 60 Riverside Boulevard.

[Reuters] — Holden Walter-Warner