Feds look to seize luxury NYC apartments from ex-Mongolian prime minister

NEW YORK — The feds want to seize two swanky Midtown apartments worth $14 million from the former prime minister of Mongolia’s family, alleging that they bought the luxe real estate with money from corrupt mining contracts.

In a complaint unsealed Tuesday, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn moved to seize a co-op unit in The Carlton House at 21 E. 61st St., and a condo unit at The Park Imperial, a 70-story building at 230 W. 56th St.

The Park Imperial’s lower levels house the headquarters of publisher Random House, and its past residents have included “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” star Chris Meloni, rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs and author Deepak Chopra.

And the Carlton House unit is back on the market for $8.25 million.

Sukhbaatar Batbold, a Mongolian parliament member who served as Mongolia’s prime minister from 2009 to 2012 and his family bought the properties through a scheme to divert a $68 million mining contract to a company he owned through intermediaries, the feds allege.

The company, Catrison Limited, was awarded a copper mining contract in 2011, just 11 days after it was formed, even though its sole director was a former linguistic teacher from South Korea, and it had no operational history or mining expertise, the feds allege.

Another company did the work for reduced profits, according to the complaint, and millions from the contract were siphoned into foreign bank accounts through shell corporations.

Another $30 million contract went to a similarly shady company owned by Batbold’s eldest son, Battushig Batbold, in 2010, according to the complaint.

Batbold’s son, who attended Harvard Business School in Massachusetts between 2012 and 2014 and worked as a summer associate at an investment management firm in New York in 2014, used that money for car payments, travel and an interior designer, the feds allege.

Sukhbaatar Batbold has denied the corruption allegations, calling them a smear campaign to discredit him before a 2021 Mongolian presidential election, Bloomberg reported in 2021.

He filed papers in federal court in Manhattan federal court seeking documents and evidence from a New York firm that aided in the corruption investigation, and last year, his attorney, Orin Snyder, wrote in a letter to a judge that he has “prevailed in every case pending against him. In addition, all proceedings in Mongolia have come to a close.”

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

The Batbold family bought the Park Imperial property for $3.9 million through shell companies in 2012, and snagged the Carlton House for $9.9 million in 2015 in a similar manner, the feds allege.

“As alleged, former Mongolian Prime Minister Batbold used the profits from his illicit corruption scheme to purchase high-end real estate in violation of United States federal law,” U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said Tuesday. “Today’s forfeiture action sends a message that corrupt officials will not use our real estate market to conceal proceeds of crimes.”

Battushig Batbold used both properties, and at one point complained to the management at the Park Imperial that its washer-dryer unit wasn’t working properly, according to the complaint.

The Batbolds’ lawyers have maintained in prior state court proceedings that they don’t own or have an interest in either property.


(With Téa Kvetenadze.)