Lafayette resident Babak Broumand, a former FBI agent, local business owner and current investigator working for the Chancellor at University of California, Berkeley, was arrested by federal authorities Friday near his home after federal investigators alleged he accepted a monthly cash bribe and other favors in exchange for agency information.
Broumand, 53, allegedly accepted more than $200,000 in bribes and gifts in exchange for what U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California Nicola Hanna said was “sensitive law enforcement information” given to a lawyer with ties to Armenian organized crime.
In exchange, prosecutors said, and beginning in early 2015, Broumand – responsible for recruiting confidential informants for national security investigations – accepted bribes of $10,000 a month, rooms at the Beverly Hills and Beverly Wilshire hotels and sessions with a female escort.
Currently a member of Cal Berkeley’s Office of Investigations according to his LinkedIn profile, Broumand faces a single count of conspiracy to commit bribery of a public official, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Federal prosecutors painted a picture of Broumand as a working agent with expensive tastes who retired from the bureau under a cloud of suspicion last year. Arrested near his Lafayette home Friday, prosecutors say he used his access to agency databases to supply an attorney with ties to an Armenian organized crime with information on agency investigations.
Broumand allegedly also used his Lafayette lice-removal business – Love Bugs – to launder cash payments from the lawyer, identified only as a “cooperating witness” in an affidavit filed in conjunction with Broumand’s arrest.
The unidentified lawyer told investigators he met Broumand at a members-only cigar lounge in Beverly Hills, inviting the agent to a party he was hosting later in Las Vegas.
During a subsequent meeting the lawyer allegedly asked Broumand if he was open to “do something on the side” – the agent allegedly agreeing to search law enforcement files for information on prospective business clients in exchange for $10,000 a month in cash.
Broumand allegedly used the money for a down payment on a second home in Lake Tahoe and for the purchase of luxury goods.
According to the affidavit, the unnamed lawyer also bought Broumand a motorcycle and accessories worth $36,000 in exchange for vetting a member of the Qatari royal family. Broumand was allegedly rewarded after determining the visiting royal wasn’t on the federal Terrorist Watch List.
The bureau reportedly began to focus its attention on Broumand after he gave the lawyer his FBI parking placard, raising eyebrows after it was seized by a southern California police force. Broumand’s relationship with the lawyer ended shortly afterward, according to investigators.
Although doubt was cast on much of the lawyer-informant’s statements authorities said those relating to Broumand were eventually substantiated by investigators, leading to charges and his arrest.