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Press Release

Justice Department Seeks Forfeiture of $14 Million Manhattan Apartments Purchased with Proceeds of Mongolian Corruption Scheme

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The Justice Department filed a civil forfeiture complaint today in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York alleging that two apartments located in New York City were purchased for $14 million with the proceeds from an international corruption scheme and are subject to forfeiture based on violations of federal money laundering statutes.

“As alleged in the complaint, Sukhbataar Batbold — the former prime minister of Mongolia — abused his position as prime minister to profit from the sale of his country’s natural resources,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri, head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “He and his family used the proceeds of their corrupt scheme to buy $14 million in high-end real estate in the United States. With this action, those properties are subject to forfeiture. Kleptocrats should take note: the Criminal Division is unwavering in its resolve to recover proceeds of official corruption and take the profit out of crime.”

The civil forfeiture complaint alleges that Sukhbaatar Batbold, who previously served as Prime Minister of Mongolia and is a current member of Mongolia’s parliament, used his position as prime minister to award lucrative contracts to sell copper concentrates from a Mongolian state controlled mine to entities that were owned and controlled by his known associates or his son. These intermediaries, who had little to no experience in the copper trade, played no part in providing financing for the purchase of the copper concentrates or in arranging the sale or shipment of the commodities. They simply concealed the fact that Batbold and his family were violating Mongolian anti-corruption laws by benefiting from the sale of millions of dollars’ worth of Mongolian natural resources.

“As alleged, former Mongolian Prime Minister Batbold used high-end New York City real estate as a cover for his illicit corruption scheme,” said U.S. Attorney Breon Peace for the Eastern District of New York. “Today’s forfeiture action sends a message that criminal activity is never included in the homeowner’s agreement. My office will not tolerate public corruption that undermines faith in government, wherever committed.”

“While he was Prime Minister of Mongolia, the defendant allegedly used corrupt funds and a sophisticated money laundering scheme to purchase two luxury New York apartments,” said Assistant Director Michael Nordwall of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “Make no mistake, the FBI is dedicated to identifying assets gained through corruption and working with our partners to recover the funds, no matter how obscured.”

FBI New York’s International Corruption Squad is investigating the case. 

Deputy Chief Adam J. Schwartz of the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative of the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tara McGrath and Brian Morris for the Eastern District of New York are handing the case.

The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs provided assistance.

The Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative is led by a team of dedicated prosecutors in the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section, in partnership with federal law enforcement agencies, and often with U.S. Attorney’s Offices, to forfeit the proceeds of foreign official corruption and, where appropriate, to use those recovered assets to benefit the people harmed by these acts of corruption and abuse of office. In 2015, the FBI formed International Corruption Squads across the country to address national and international implications of foreign corruption. Individuals with information about possible proceeds of foreign corruption located in or laundered through the United States should contact federal law enforcement or send an email to (link sends e-mail) or

A civil complaint is merely an allegation. The government has the burden of establishing the assets are subject to forfeiture by a preponderance of the evidence.

Updated March 26, 2024

Asset Forfeiture
Foreign Corruption
Press Release Number: 24-347