BEVERLY HILLS — The Justice Department has filed a lawsuit seeking to recover more than $100 million embezzled by former officials of Kuwait’s Ministry of Defense.
The lawsuit seeks the forfeiture of the illegally purchased Beverly Hills “Mountain,” a 157-acre property once on the market for $1 billion.
The complaints filled on Thursday allege that high-level officials at Kuwait’s Ministry of Defense and associates used the Ministry’s attaché office in London “to open at least six unauthorized bank accounts” between 2009 and 2016.
They then “transferred more than $100 million of Kuwaiti public funds from the National Bank of Kuwait into the unauthorized London accounts,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The funds were then “transferred to several California entities that had no business or contractual relationship with the Ministry.” According to the complaints, some of the funds were falsely described as “intended for military purposes.”
The complaints also allege that the California entities involved are connected to Victorino Noval, 58, formerly known as Victor Jesus Noval.
Noval was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison in 2003 after being convicted of mail fraud and tax evasion “in connection with a multimillion-dollar loan fraud committed against the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development,” the Attorney’s Office said.
Apart from the “Mountain,” the funds were allegedly used in the purchase of three other Beverly Hills homes as well as, “a penthouse and an apartment in Westwood, a private jet, a yacht, a Lamborghini sports car and approximately $40,000 worth of memorabilia of boxer Manny Pacquiao.”
According to the complaints, the U.S is seeking to recover at least $104,380,000 laundered into “and through U.S. financial institutions.”
The “Mountain” was sold for $100,000 at an auction in Pomona in 2019.
With the assistance from the Office of International Affairs in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, IRS Criminal Investigation and the FBI investigated the matter.
Assistant United States Attorneys Michael Sew Hoy and Dan G. Boyle of the Asset Forfeiture Section will litigate the forfeiture cases.