Wednesday, November 6, 2013

US Seizes Ukraine Ex Prime Minister's $6m California Mansion

US authorities have confiscated the $6.75 million California mansion of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko in connection with his money laundering conviction nearly a decade ago and have also sanctioned the seizure of a Pablo Picasso lithograph that he is believed to own. The sprawling 20-room home in the city of Novato, 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of San Francisco, was formally handed over to the United States last month in an Oct. 8 order issued by Judge Charles Breyer of the US District Court for the Northern District of California. The mansion, where comedian Eddie Murphy reportedly once resided while filming a movie nearby, was seized as part of the US government’s efforts to recover $22.8 million from Lazarenko based on his 2004 conviction by a federal jury in San Francisco on charges of extortion, fraud and money laundering. The seizure comes as Lazarenko, who served as Ukraine’s prime minister from May 1996 to July 1997, faces possible deportation from the United States following his release from federal prison last November after serving out a nine-year sentence.

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