The city of Almaty, Kazakhstan, sued its former mayor Viktor Khrapunov in California, claiming he “looted” $300 million through the sale of state-owned real estate and funnelled the money to Switzerland and the U.S.
Khrapunov’s children and their spouses have used the stolen funds to buy property in the Los Angeles area, including a $6.2 million home in Beverly Hills and a $5.7 million, 2-acre estate in Studio City, and lease Rolls Royce and Bentley sedans, according to the complaint filed today in federal court in Los Angeles.
Almaty accuses Khrapunov and his family or racketeering and fraud and it seeks restitution as well as triple damages.
The former mayor, who lives in Switzerland, left Kazakhstan in 2007. Almaty alleges he and his wife used rigged auctions to buy state-owned real estate at artificially suppressed prices and then sold them at a profit. Khrapunov has been charged in Kazakhstan with theft of public property, according to the city’s complaint.
Khrapunov didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment sent to the e-mail address on his website. According to the site, he left Kazakhstan in 2007 to seek medical treatment abroad. He was mayor of Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, from June 1997 to December 2004.
The case is City of Almaty v. Khrapunov, 14-3650, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).
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