As the trial for an FBI agent accused of selling out his country by funneling secrets to underworld figures is set to open this week in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, his attorney made startling allegations against the government’s star witness, a phony Beverly Hills lawyer and admitted mobster who he says stole a private jet from one of his clients, the reputed boss of the Armenian crime family, schmoozed with Arnold Schwarzenegger and donated to Gavin Newsom and Hillary Clinton’s campaigns.
Babak Broumand, a 20-year FBI veteran who retired in 2018 shortly after fellow agents raided his business, home, and Lake Tahoe vacation house—which prosecutors say he bought with bribe money from the Armenians after it was laundered through his unlicensed lice removal companies called Love Bugs. Broumand is accused of “doing a little something on the side,” for the powerful Armenian mob since 2015, which is when he met the star witness in his trial, “lawyer” Edgar Sargsyan, at the Grand Havana Room, a members-only cigar lounge in Beverly Hills.
Broumand, a supervisory agent for the San Francisco field office assigned to HUMINT, a squad that develops human sources to combat terrorism, ran checks on Sargsyan’s associates, offered up the location of secret boxes of cash the UN believes Muhomar Gaddafi squirreled out of his country before the Arab Spring reached Libya and offered to take Iranians off the no-fly list for a price.
In return, Sargsyan says he gave Broumand $10,000 in cash, took him on pricy Las Vegas “boys trips”— with “party buses filled with girls,” paid for boozy dinners, and took him on vacation on a private jet. To hide his side job, Broumand tried to register Sargsyan as a confidential informant for the FBI, prosecutors say.
Now, Sargsyan is cooperating with the government against his former friend and intelligence source. Sargsyan already helped federal prosecutors convict Homeland Security Investigations agent Felix Cisneros and a Glendale narcotics detective John Saro Balian on federal corruption charges with testimony that came before he recently confessed to his handlers that he paid his law partner, Henrik Mosei, $20,000 a month to study for the California Bar; when Mosei passed it in Sacramento using a fake ID and smeared fingerprints, his hard studying was rewarded with a Rolex.
Mosei, who said he will plead the fifth if called in Broumand’s trial—told Steven Gruel, who is defending the former FBI agent, that Sargsyan also scammed millions in an elaborate fraud scheme where he was “busting out people’s credit cards.” The victims were “usually elderly, Armenian, or immigrants,” Gruel wrote in a court filing this week, quoting Sargsyan’s former colleague.
Some of the stolen cash made its way into campaign coffers, Gruel said, including $250,000 donated to Hillary Clinton’s campaign at a private fundraiser held in Beverly Hills. He also donated to Governor Gavin Newsom at another Beverly Hills event where President Barack Obama made an appearance, Gruel wrote.
Sargsyan spread his attention around to both the Democrat and Republican parties. A slew of celebrities maintain pricy humidors at the Grand Havana Room, including former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. In 2014, Gruel says in the court filing, Sargsyan sent the Terminator star a $1500 glass of Macallan 25. The former governor thanked him and “complimented his ring.” Sargsyan “took it off and gave it to him,” Gruel wrote in the filing. A friendship was born.
In return, Schwarzenegger gave Sargsyan a ring with the California seal and “a large metal watch made from the metal of a tank in Austria or Germany,” Gruel wrote in the filing.
Sargsyan’s mover-shaker days driving to his Rodeo Drive offices in his Rolls Royce Phantom ended when he agreed to cooperate with the government in the investigation of a sprawling $1 billion biofuel scam pulled off by members of the Kingston clan, a polygamist cult in Utah better known as The Order; not to mention the reputed Armenian Mafia boss he ripped off, Levon Termendzhyan, a Bel Air gas station tycoon now imprisoned in a Salt Lake City lockup.
Sargsyan was an attorney for a company owned by Termendzhyan— who is better known in L.A. crime circles as The Lion—when he registered a private jet his boss purchased in his own name and even changed the tail number.
Sargsyan was with a woman Gruel called his mistress when he got a call that The Lion had discovered he had embezzled millions of dollars and stolen the jet. He panicked and called his office screeching, “I’m a dead man, my life is over.” Then he “stopped coming to the office and hid in a hotel room,” Gruel wrote.
Which, Sargsyan’s colleagues told Gruel, was a smart move. At some point, The Lion “and his “goons” came to the office trying to find him, declaring “war,”’ Gruel wrote.
Today Sargsyan remains a free man. He is expected to take the stand in Broumand’s trial over the next fortnight.