Dallas office towers tied to Ukrainian money laundering case, DOJ says
The two North Dallas office towers were allegedly bought and maintained with money from PrivatBank, according to federal investigators
Federal investigators plan to seize more than $6 million in revenue from the sale of commercial real estate in Dallas that the Department of Justice says was embezzled by the owners of a Ukrainian bank, according to the Dallas Morning News.
The DOJ alleges the former headquarters of CompuCom Systems Inc. on Forest Lane was purchased with embezzled funds from PrivatBank, a Ukrainian bank tied to a criminal investigation. Profits from that property were allegedly used to pay for improvements to Stemmons Towers at 8787 North Stemmons Freeway.
The DOJ civil forfeiture complaint alleges the property was “maintained and improved using the proceeds of embezzlement and fraud from PrivatBank in Ukraine” and are therefore “subject to forfeiture based on violations of federal money laundering statutes.”
The filing follows three other civil forfeiture complaints in the Southern District of Florida involving Ihor Kolomoisky and Gennadiy Boholiubov, who owned PrivatBank and their Miami associates Mordechai Korf and Uriel Laber. All four complaints allege Kolomoisky and Boholiubov embezzled and defrauded the bank of billions of dollars through criminal activity and then laundered the funds through property investments in Dallas.
The team allegedly operated through a web of entities named using variations of the word “Optima” such as Optima Ventures LLC, Optima 7171 LLC and Optima Stemmons LLC. The Miami partners allegedly spent hundreds of millions of dollars of embezzled funds on real estate and businesses across the US, including the North Dallas properties.
“Mr. Korf and Mr. Laber have never engaged in money laundering of any kind, and they have no knowledge of anyone else doing so,” said Marc Kasowitz, attorney for Korf and Laber. “Any allegations against Mr. Korf and Mr. Laber arise from Ukrainian political disputes they have nothing to do with.”
More than $6 million of principal and interest is still owed to a specially-created entity owned by Optima Ventures named 87STE LLC. The government is seeking to seize the promissory note and deed of trust related to that financing agreement in addition to the $6 million.
The case is being led by the FBI’s Cleveland office and is still under investigation, according to the DOJ.
[Dallas Morning News] – Maddy Sperling