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. Viktor 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.
ASPEN REAL ESTATE – ‘Pirate of Prague’ reflects on Aspen, bribery allegations. 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. Kozeny, in an email from Lyford Cay in the Bahamas, confirmed the development.
By Chad Abraham, May 16, 2012 ADN
Link to Aspen Sojourner article “Scandals of Aspen, Part III”, Summer 2009
Photo credit: Aspen Sojourner