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Feds seek seizure of two New York apartments worth $14 million tied to former Mongolia leader in alleged mining scheme

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Batbold Sukhbaatar of Mongolia addresses the Millennium Development Goals Summit at the United Nations headquarters in New York, September 22, 2010.
Emmanuel Dunand | AFP | Getty Images

Federal prosecutors on Tuesday sued to seize two New York City apartments worth $14 million that were allegedly bought with proceeds from a corrupt scheme involving Mongolia’s huge copper mine, a former prime minister of that nation, and his Harvard Business School graduate son.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn details a total of $128 million in allegedly unlawful contracts granted by a Mongolian state-owned mining company to shell companies, which benefited then Prime Minister Sukhbaatar Batbold and his family, including his oldest son.

“During Batbold’s tenure as Prime Minister, Erdenet Mining Corporation inserted a middleman with ties to Batbold into the relationship with [the commodity trading firm] Ocean Partners, allowing Batbold to siphon off millions of dollars for his personal use and benefit, which included the purchase of the” luxury apartments in Manhattan, the suit alleges.

Batbold served as prime minister from 2009 through 2012. He currently is a member of the Mongolian parliament.

Money linked to another allegedly illegal contract for $30 million from Erdernet Mining went into a bank account in the United States controlled by the eldest son, Battushig Batbold, via wire transfers referencing “car payment,” trips and travel,” “school payment,” and “interior designer payment,” the suit said.

Batbold’s son, Battushig Batbold, a Harvard Business School graduate, is a member of the International Olympic Committee.

Battushig Batbold also worked as a summer associate at Blackstone in 2014, and as a mining analyst at Morgan Stanley from 2009 through 2011, according to his LinkedIn page.

Orin Snyder, an attorney at the Gibson Dunn firm which is representing Sukhbaatar Batbold and Battushig Batbold, in an email statement to CNBC said, “The claims filed today echo allegations our clients defeated two years ago in courts around the world.”

“In those cases, we proved the claims against Mr. Batbold were the product of a misinformation campaign designed to manipulate Mongolian democracy — a campaign secretly directed by Mr. Batbold’s opponents.”

“Mr. Batbold looks forward to his day in court, when he will have the opportunity to defend himself against these unfounded claims,” the attorney said.

 CNBC has reached out to Mongolia’s United Nations mission in New York for comment on the allegations in the suit.

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