Amid probe, taxi owner Edward Tutunjian looks to sell

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Boston’s biggest taxi owner, under criminal investigation and facing a multimillion-dollar class-action lawsuit, is seeking to sell more than half his cab empire — an estimated $120 million divestiture that the city’s top police official is promising to block.

Edward Tutunjian intends to file court papers under seal Monday asking judicial approval for the sale of up to 200 of his 372 city-issued medallions — or licenses — for at least $600,000 apiece.

Tutunjian was the focus of a Globe Spotlight Team investigation earlier this year documenting that many taxi drivers feel pressured to pay his staff petty bribes to get keys to taxis that they lease for about $100 for a 12-hour shift. A federal criminal investigation into those practices is underway. After learning about Tutunjian’s pending medallion sale from the Globe, Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis swiftly moved to halt it. Under city regulations, he has virtually unlimited authority to do so.

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