The trial for an FBI agent on corruption charges taking place in a Downtown Los Angeles federal court this week has taken a startling international turn with testimony about “the Sheikh,” a Qatari royal family bad boy with a Demerol addiction who, as a phony Beverly Hills lawyer testified, got his intravenous fix from a local dentist.
On Wednesday, tensions rose as FBI agent Babak Broumand, a 20-year bureau veteran now accused of selling out his badge to L.A.’s Armenian underworld, came face to face with the government’s star witness—his one-time “very good friend,” Edgar Sargsyan—an admitted mobster and credit card scammer who also had ties to the Mexican Mafia, prosecutors say. Sargsyan spent Wednesday detailing a slew of crimes prosecutors say Broumand committed while working as an active supervisory FBI agent in a HUMINT squad creating confidential informants to prevent terrorism.
One of those allegations is that Broumand agreed to go to a DEA source to procure the painkiller for Khalid Sheikh Hammad Al-Thani, the brother of the Qatari Emir, when the dentist couldn’t get any more liquid Demerol. He’d asked Sargsyan “to deal with the guy,” he testified, so he created a “side business with al-Thani.”
But first, Sargsyan wanted Broumand to search FBI databases to “see if he was a terrorist,” Sargsyan testified. He wasn’t, Broumand reported back. For that, Sargsyan testified, he bought Broumand a $36,000 Ducati motorcycle in Beverly Hills.
“I wanted to make him happy,” Sargsyan said of Broumand.
“The dentist was writing scripts,” Sargsyan told the court, and at some point, he couldn’t write any more of them. Sargsyan testified that he agreed to work as a mediator to find the drug for “the Sheikh” and asked Broumand if he had any connections. Later, the unnamed dentist supplying the Qatari royal’s fix couldn’t write any more prescritions, so, as Sargsyan testified, he asked Broumand if he had “access to people to get Demoral.”
Broumand, according to Sargsyan, said he would ask a DEA friend. By then, the men and their families had grown closer. The FBI agent sent Sargsyan a thank you postcard that featured a photo of Broumand sitting in front of his new Ducati along with anniversary and Christmas cards.
Later, Broumand sent Sargsyan a text message, according to an exchange prosecutors admitted into evidence on Wednesday, saying “I hope your [hair transplant] surgery went well.” Sargsyan, who at that time had a penthouse in Beverly Hills, a sprawling mansion in a Calabasas gated community, and a massive villa in Sherman Oaks, which he moved between with a trio of drivers in cars that included a Bentley, a Lamborghini, a Rolls Royce or a Cadillac Escalade.
Sargsyan responded to Broumand with, “Brother, thank you for caring about me,” and added, “I look handsome.”
To which Broumand replied, “never stop looking handsome,” and added, “my guy has the medicine in non-liquid form. Should I get it?”
Sargsyan replied, “big no-no. He can’t take pills.”
“What a pussy,” Broumand texted back to which Sargsyan replied, “a really big one.”
Sargsyan also testified that Broumand was one of the witnesses he used to attest to “his moral turpitude” when he was applying to the California Bar—a three-day exam that he never took, because he paid Henrik Mosesi, his partner at Pillar Law Firm which court records show was a hotbed of corruption, to take it in his name with a fake ID and smeared fingerprints at a Sacramento testing site.
Mosesi, who introduced the FBI agent to Sargsyan, was paid $20,000 a month to study and was gifted a Rolex when he passed the grueling exam. Mosesi and Broumand, his law school buddy, were among the crowd who traveled on two private jets owned by Sargsyan to Vegas for a porn convention, along with a Beverly Hills police sergeant who acted as security for the trip—one of the multiple vacations the FBI agent took in violation of bureau rules and regulations, which led to the six-count indictment on corruption and bribery charges that landed him in court.
Those trips ended abruptly with a Burbank traffic stop. Sargsyan had noticed an FBI parking placard allowed Broumand to “park anywhere he wants” and envied it. “I’ll get you one,” the agent said, according to Sargsyan’s testimony. Soon Sargsyan was using it to park his Escalade, “because it would have looked suspicious in a Bentley or Lambo,” in red zones in front of his Rodeo Drive offices and in no-parking areas in front of Beverly Hills restaurants, he said on the stand.
In February 2016, Sargsyan was a passenger in that SUV when a Burbank cop pulled his driver over for not having a license plate. Sargsyan snatched the placard from the glove box and shoved it toward the patrol officer saying the car was “used for law enforcement purposes.” The cop flipped it over and found Broumand’s FBI business card, which Sargsyan said he had taped to the back for this very purpose.
The cop wasn’t buying it, so Sargsyan called Broumand from the side of the road. The agent said, “let me talk to him,” but by then, a Burbank detective had arrived to grill Sargsyan on his claims that the Escalade was an FBI undercover vehicle.
Sargsyan was issued a citation for not having a license; he wasn’t happy about it, he testified, and told Broumand as much. “I thought federal law enforcement would have been able to stop this ticket.”
By then, the Burbank police had called Broumand’s bosses in L.A. and San Francisco, prompting the FBI agent to send a text lamenting, “I’m in trouble.” Sargsyan responded, “Send me a copy of your paycheck, so I can match it.”