Sargsyan launders money through offshore areas - DETAILS

  10 November 2017    Read: 4068
Sargsyan launders money through offshore areas - DETAILS
The Armenian media still discusses how Armenian officials and politicians launder money through offshore companies.
Note, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) made public the data found in its yearlong investigation in 2016. The database contains information on almost 320,000 offshore entities, which came from the release of 11.5 million confidential documents from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca.

The "Panama documents" contain the names of 37 citizens from the Republic of Armenia. Ex-head of the Service for Compulsory Execution of Judicial Acts of the Ministry of Justice Mihran Poghosyan Mihran Poghosyan, the Armenian Ambassador to Russia Vardan Toganian, the owner of the company "Center of Legal Consultation" Mikael Avetisyan, the professor of Engineering University of Armenia, the academician NAS RA Harutyun Terzyan and his partners Snar Martirosyan, Vardan Kocharyan, Artashes Balian, as well as other citizens of Armenia were among names.

Poghosyan started his professional career in the National Security Service of the Republic of Armenia. In June 2008 Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan signed a decree appointing Poghosyan as the head of the Service for the Compulsory Execution of Judicial Acts, and was dismissed from the post of chief bailiff because of an offshore scandal in April 2016.

According to documents, Poghosyan was a shareholder of three companies registered in Panama: Sigtem Real Estates Incorporated, Hopkinten Trading Incorporated and Bangio Invest SA.

Vardan Toganian, the Armenian Ambassador to Russia, was appointed to this post in March 2017 with Sargsyan's decree. In1992-1994, he was chief expert in the Permanent Mission of Armenia to Russia. In 1994-1995, he served as assistant secretary at Armenian Embassy in Russia. Since 2001, he has been Chairman of the Board of Directors at Eurasian Media Group.Toganyan was mentioned in Panama Papers, which includes information on offshore companies and persons linked to them. In 2014 Vardan Toganyan became shareholder of 'Shoghakn' engaged in polishing of diamonds.

According to Alexander Okhrimenko, a Ukrainian political analyst and president of the Ukrainian Analytical Center, holding an offshore account is not a crime.

"Tt is not difficult to do that. Banks open accounts to non-residents without any problem.For example,if an official transferred personal savings to this account, from which he paid taxes in Armenia, then there are no problems. And it is not considered crime. But if he received money from other offshore companies as "kickbacks or bribes", then this is a crime. However, it is difficult to prove. It is considered a crime if he conducts trading operations through his offshore accounts and leaves money abroad and did not pay taxes," Okhrimenko said.

So, Sargsyan's connection with Poghosyan and Toganian is obvious. It can be concluded that the Armenian president looted money to his nation through offshore with these two people's help. It is likely that these people are not few. It means Sargsyan feels threat to his power and can leave the country anytime betraying his nation for his personal interests.

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