The US Seeks to Seize Luxury Apartments from ex Mongolian Prime Minister

Опубликовано: 28 Март 2024

Sukhbaataryn Batbold cropped

Sukhbaatar Batbold was Prime Minister of Mongolia from 2009 to 2012. He is mentioned in the Panama and Pandora Papers for his financial dealings regarding illegally awarded mining contracts. (Photo: Alexey Druzhinin/Government.ru, Wikimedia, License)

U.S. prosecutors are seeking the seizure of two luxury New York City apartments belonging to former Mongolian Prime Minister Sukhbaatar Batbold and his family, which they believe were purchased with the proceeds of illegally awarded mining contracts.

The Department of Justice opened a civil lawsuit on Tuesday, claiming that Batbold “abused his position as prime minister to profit from the sale of his country’s natural resources” and that he and his family used the proceeds of their corruption to buy the Manhattan apartments for US$14 million.

The complaint alleges that the former prime minister was in office when a company called Catrison was awarded a $68 million mining contract, although it lacked mining experience and had no financial or logistical infrastructure to execute commodity sales. Its sole director was a former professor of linguistics, but the real owner was Batbold himself, prosecutors claim.

The money from the contract was allegedly diverted to bank accounts in tax havens, and a portion of it went toward the purchase of the apartments.

Furthermore, the U.S. Attorney's Office claims that a $30 million mining contract was awarded to one of Batbold’s shell companies, and the proceeds were diverted to the account of his eldest son, who used the money to buy cars, travel, and maintain a lavish lifestyle.

Sukhbaatar Batbold was Prime Minister of Mongolia from 2009 to 2012, and before that, he held several ministerial positions. He has also faced prosecution for setting up companies in tax havens and buying luxury apartments in Mongolia, the U.K., and Singapore with the money received from mining deals. His name appears in the Panama and Pandora Papers.

“Batbold’s alleged behavior – personally profiting off of public corruption comes at the expense of the law-abiding citizens he governed,” stated FBI Assistant Director Smith. “Today’s action emphasizes the FBI’s commitment to dismantling public corruption and punishing those who utilize the U.S. banking system to illegally divert resources, wherever it may occur.”