Villalobos plans to sue CalPERS for $10m

Alfred Villalobos, the embattled placement agent accused of bribery, said he plans to sue CalPERS for spreading 'lies' about him.

Alfred Villalobos said this week that he plans to sue the California Public Employees’ Retirement System for $10 million for statements “that weren’t true” about his dealings with the pension fund.

Villalobos alleged defamation in US Bankruptcy Court: “You know that they lied publicly and said things that weren’t true,” according to a report in the Sacramento Bee, a California newspaper.

A spokesperson for the $204 billion CalPERS declined to comment.

Villalobos said he was also considering a lawsuit against California Attorney General Jerry Brown, who filed a civil suit in May against Villalobos, and his placement firm ARVCO Financial Ventures. The civil suit seeks $95 million for restitution to the pension fund, civil penalties and return of profits.

Among the charges are allegations that Villalobos “attempted to bribe” the head of CalPERS alternative investment programme, Leon Shahinian. Federico Buenrostro, the former president of the CalPERS board, was also sued by Brown’s office.

Brown’s complaint details an allegedly lavish trip that Villalobos took with Shahinian to New York to attend a benefit honouring Apollo Global Management head Leon Black. Following that trip Shahinian allegedly “recommended” a $700 million investment in Apollo without disclosing the “all-expenses paid trip” to New York.

Brown obtained a court order to freeze Villalobos’ assets to recover the more than $40 million in commissions Villalobos earned during the period alleged in the complaint. The state wanted Villalobos' assets frozen because it says he has significant gambling debts and could dissipate his fortune before the state can collect.

In June, Villalobos filed for bankruptcy protection and succeeded in getting a bankruptcy judge to unfreeze some of his assets so he could reopen one of his businesses.

A spokesperson for Brown’s office did not return a call by press time.