Search

Editors

Harry Cassin Publisher and Editor

Andy Spalding Senior Editor

Jessica Tillipman Senior Editor

Richard L. Cassin Editor at Large

Elizabeth K. Spahn Editor Emeritus 

Cody Worthington Contributing Editor

Julie DiMauro Contributing Editor

Thomas Fox Contributing Editor

Marc Alain Bohn Contributing Editor

Bill Waite Contributing Editor

Shruti J. Shah Contributing Editor

Russell A. Stamets Contributing Editor

Richard Bistrong Contributing Editor 

Eric Carlson Contributing Editor

Bill Steinman Contributing Editor

Aarti Maharaj Contributing Editor


FCPA Blog Daily News

« Job: Associate Counsel - Compliance (World Fuel Services) | Main | Ex-CalPERS chief pleads guilty to fraud and bribery »
Friday
Aug012014

Former Putin media chief tied to $28 million California real estate

Mikhail Lesin, left, with Russia Prsident Vladimir PutinThe Russian media boss who served as the Kremlin press secretary and helped set up the state-funded RT network has bought at least three houses in the Los Angeles area worth over $28 million, a U.S. senator said this week.

Mikhail Lesin, 56, bought a 13,000-square-foot Beverly Hills home in August 2011 for $13.8 million through a company, Dastel Corporation, according to a report Friday by Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty.

RFE/RL said Lesin’s son, Anton, was an officer of Dastel.

Senator Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) asked the DOJ in a July 29 letter to investigate whether Lesin used laundered money to buy the properties.

Dastel Corporation also bought a 10,600-square-foot house in Brentwood for $9 million in 2012, RFE/RL said.

Another company that shows Lesin's daughter as an officer, HFC Management, bought a 6,800 square foot house in Beverly Hills for $5.6 million.

Senator Wicker said in his letter to the DOJ: "I...understand that following his government service, Mr. Lesin moved his immediate family to Los Angeles, California, where he acquired multiple residences at a cost of over $28 million."

"That a Russian public servant could have amassed the considerable funds required to acquire and maintain these assets...raises serious questions,” Senator Wicker said.

Peter Carr of the DOJ told RFE/RL the letter is under review.

The DOJ started the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative three years ago. The program is intended to seize ill-gotten gains stolen from the developing world.

In 2011, the DOJ filed civil forfeiture complaints against the son of the president of Equatorial Guinea to recover $70.8 million in real and personal property located in the United States.

Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue allegedly "used his position and influence as a government minister for Equatorial Guinea to acquire criminal proceeds through corruption and money laundering, in violation of both Equatoguinean and U.S. law," the DOJ said. 

Lesin now heads state-controlled Gazprom-Media, the country’s largest media holding, RFE/RL said.

________

Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.