The Feds on Monday filed a complaint in Los Angeles federal court looking to seize a mega-mansion in Holmbly Hills, alleging that the property was purchased with bribes.
The Department of Justice says the bribes were paid by an Armenian businessman to the family of Gagik Khachatryan, 66, a former high-ranking Armenian official known as the “Super Minister,” City News Service reports. Khachatryan was the chairman of the State Revenue Committee of the Republic of Armenia from 2008 to 2014 and a former minister of finance.
In the filing, it is alleged that a businessman, Sedrak Arustamyan, paid the “Super Minister” Khachatryan and members of his family more than $20 million in bribes in exchange for giving his businesses preferential tax treatment.
The DOJ claims the alleged bribe payments were used to purchase the Holmby Hills property for $14 million in 2011. It’s currently being listed for sale at $63.5 million. The French chateau-style mansion was built after razing the previous house on the lot by celebrity mega-mansion architect Richard Landry and boasts 11 bedrooms and 27 bathrooms, reports the Los Angeles Times. It adds up to 33,652 square feet, but the interior is not finished.
The mammoth structure is also just a few houses down from the Playboy Mansion, the Times notes.
Khachatryan and his sons are charged in Armenia with receiving bribes. Arusamyan also faces pending criminal charges in Armenia for paying bribes.
As for the fate of the house, it’s still for sale.
“I’ve been told by the FBI that I can continue to do showings,” Richard Maslan of Hilton & Hyland told the Times. “If we receive an offer and both the seller and the Justice Department agree on a sale price, we can still sell it.”
The forfeiture is being initiated under the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, which handles foreign official corruption. It often uses recovered assets to benefit those harmed.
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