DA Robert Morgenthau charged Viktor Kozeny, 39, with 15 counts of first-degree grand larceny and two counts of first-degree criminal possession of stolen property for thefts that took place between March and June 1998.
First-degree grand larceny and criminal possession are each Class B felonies punishable by up to 25 years in prison.
Once said to be the Czech Republic’s richest man, Kozeny has over the years faced numerous fraud charges and lawsuits, and has been charged with stealing hundreds of millions of dollars from his collapsed Harvard investment funds. He holds an Irish passport and resides in Lyford Cay, The Bahamas.
Kozeny’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, a partner at Brafman & Ross PC in New York, was in court and not immediately available for comment. Kozeny could not immediately be reached.
Omega is a $3.5 billion hedge fund founded by Leon Cooperman, a former Goldman, Sachs & Co. general partner. Cooperman referred a call to general counsel Donald Wong, who declined immediate comment.
Morgenthau said Kozeny promised Omega managers that he would buy on their funds’ behalf “privatization vouchers” and related options from the market and the Azerbaijan government.
The district attorney said that had Kozeny fulfilled his promises, he and Omega investors would have been able to buy a controlling stake in the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijani Republic, or SOCAR, were the country to sell it.
Instead, Morgenthau said Kozeny used $95 million of Omega’s funds to buy out his own position in the vouch