American and British Investors Sue Kazakhstan's Washington Consultants for Roles in Stealing Assets and Defaming Business Owners

Sep 23, 2010, 16:41 ET from Crowell & Moring LLP

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Crowell & Moring LLP has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a U.S. citizen and his British brother whose multi-billion dollar business empire was seized by Kazakhstan. The brothers filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against Washington-based consultant Alexander Mirtchev and his corporate affiliates, Krull Corporation, GlobalOptions, Inc., and GlobalOptions Management, Inc. The complaint alleges that Mirtchev and his affiliates supported and orchestrated Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev in a politically-motivated campaign to expropriate the Hourani brothers' investments in Kazakhstan and destroy their reputations internationally.

Devincci Hourani, who lives in Virginia, and his London-based brother, Issam Hourani (also spelled Khorani), allege that Mirtchev and his corporate affiliates devised a plan, code-named "Superkhan," in 2007 to consolidate economic and political power in President Nazarbayev – at the expense of the Houranis and others – and ensure his long term political security in the expansive former Soviet republic located in Central Asia that has one of the world's richest proven deposits of oil and natural gas. The Houranis allege they became targets of Mirtchev's Superkhan plan after a political falling-out between President Nazarbayev and his former son-in-law, Rakhat Aliyev, whose sister is Issam Hourani's wife. The lawsuit claims that as a result of that dispute, President Nazarbayev relied on a plan prepared by Mirtchev and his firm to take over the assets of several successful businessmen who were perceived as supporting Aliyev.


Crowell & Moring LLP partner Stuart H. Newberger, counsel for the Houranis, said, "Washington-based consultants violated U.S. and international law to get paid tens of millions of dollars to orchestrate a dictator's seizure of assets owned by American and British businessmen and investors, and they will now face justice. The Hourani brothers had extensive investments in energy, food services, real estate, media and pharmaceuticals, and are upstanding business professionals who have a right to their investments and have earned their good name despite the best efforts of the Kazakh consultants to steal both."

The lawsuit seeks several billion dollars in damages based on the actual value of the Houranis' businesses and assets seized beginning in 2007 and now personally owned and controlled by President Nazarbayev as part of the Superkhan project orchestrated by the Washington-based defendants.  It also seeks damages for the false and defamatory information drafted and maintained by the defendants on the Kazakh Embassy website in Washington. The federal lawsuit follows several arbitration claims made or about to be made under international law by the Houranis or companies owned by them, against the Republic of Kazakhstan. The largest of those claims, brought by Caratube International Oil Company, will be heard in February 2011 by an international tribunal at ICSID, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (under the auspices of the World Bank) sitting in Paris, France.  

Crowell & Moring LLP is an international law firm with nearly 500 lawyers representing clients in litigation and arbitration, regulatory, and transactional matters. The firm is internationally recognized for its representation of Fortune 500 companies in high-stakes litigation, as well as its ongoing commitment to pro bono service and diversity. The firm has offices in Washington, DC, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orange County, Anchorage, London, and Brussels. Visit Crowell & Moring online at


Nicole Quigley



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SOURCE Crowell & Moring LLP