In Cheyenne, Wyoming, a small brick-faced house sits between a Greek Orthodox Church and a tired-looking barbershop.
The structure does not stand out. Yet, according to court documents from several years ago, the innocuous-looking house once served as the fulcrum of a kleptocratic scheme. A news story about the case described the Cheyenne house as “a little Cayman Island on the Great Plains.”
The house, documents showed, hosted a shell company that purportedly owned $72 million in Ukrainian real estate. These properties were but a portion of the assets connected to Pavlo Lazarenko, who served as prime minister of Ukraine in 1996-97, and who was once characterized by the watchdog group Transparency International (TI) as one of the world’s top 10 kleptocrats. TI estimated that Lazarenko stole $200 million during his time in office.
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This article is adapted from a forthcoming report for Hudson Institute.