May 16, 2012

SandBoxBlogs: Aspen Daily News "U.S. offers $22 million from sale of Peak House to Czechs"

It is human nature to focus more on the present than the past. 

Unfortunately, when a community such as Aspen has such a strong history of repetitious behavior patterns, old 'projects' are usually not forgotten.

Terrific story from Chad Abraham today up on the Aspen Daily as the "Pirate of Prague’ reflects on Aspen, bribery allegations".

Chad Abraham:
"The U.S. government is offering $22 million in proceeds from its sale of the Peak House in Aspen — which it seized in 2001 from a man accused of stealing more than $1 billion from investors — to Czech Republic shareholders as restitution, media in Prague reported Tuesday.

On March 28, an appeals court in Britain affirmed the extradition decision by a Bahamas court regarding the home’s former owner, Viktor Kozeny. The lower court refused the U.S. government’s request that Kozeny be extradited to face charges of money laundering, lying to the FBI and violating federal foreign corruption laws.

The so-called “Pirate of Prague” has lived in the Caribbean since 1999, when authorities say he fled the United States with $182 million swindled from investors from Aspen and elsewhere, and $1.1 billion more that was allegedly embezzled from mutual funds in the Czech Republic.

Kozeny, 48, bought the nearly 22,000-square-foot home, the highest residence on Red Mountain, in 1997 for $19.7 million, which was then a record for a real estate sale in the state.

Authorities believe Kozeny used the residence to woo investors for his $450 million plan to control the oil industry of Azerbaijan. The home was eventually seized and sold under a court order to Priceline founder Richard S. Braddock in 2001, who continues to own it......

(lol...local contractors who remember the major gut and remodel Kozeny did after buying it and how hard the peon labor was whipped to perform for this infamous party....will love Kozeny's comment on Aspen's drug culture.  (whisper...whisper...gosh...Viktor's personal beliefs re: drugs in Aspen must have been the reason we were all red-tagged for digging out the secret wine cave "party" room that lies under Peak House now....whisper...whisper....)):

(Abraham).....Among the tactics to lure investors, who included former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell: a lavish Christmas party in 1997 at the Peak House at which Natalie Cole sang and at which the Azerbaijan scheme was allegedly hatched.

Investors were apparently told that their money would be going to Kozeny’s Oily Rock and Minaret companies, which were to buy energy vouchers for the state oil company as Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic, looked to privatized industries in the late 1990s.

Instead, federal prosecutors contend Kozeny used his jets to fly in suitcases filled with millions of dollars to bribe Azerbaijan officials. The nation’s oil industry was never privatized.

Kozeny said he doubts the plan was discussed at the Christmas party.

“As to business we all know that’s never discussed at parties in Aspen as everyone is wasted and half of [the] town [is] on cocaine, which is one of the reasons why I prefer Europe where the drug problem is not so severe,” he wrote....." 

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mack said...

hammer and 22 laminated Abraham's article and posted it on the trailer door this morning. If today's local DEA had been around the aftermath of Viktor's bash in '97 they would have had all they ever needed to know on where to look in Aspen. unbelievable. it's the only city in the world that just keeps rollin on and rollin on. We're all wondering how Viktor's doing. If he's still having high times only difference he's on the beach instead of the mountain.

glenwoodsprings22 said...

If walls, nail guns and paint could talk Aspen would have a lot to worry about and Schrant's crew would be out of jobs. Every secret in the world is in the heads of the builders, trades and inspectors. Viktor hasn't changed a bit from the sound of his comments to Chad Abraham. It's been a long, long time since my man and I've walked down the memory lane of all the morphs of Peak House. From new construction to the latest. Glad you got a kick out of my IM to you today, Nanny. Oh lordy lordy..they ever catch Viktor on US soil that's one trial I'll take time out to sit through. He's a classic.

hammerandnails said...

was good to get a laugh from you nanny. miss that. the pirate of prague. there isn't a house in aspen that's a greater status symbol of pure waste than peak house.