2 հուլիս, 2014 14:30

HETQ: Afrikyan Building Just Another Business Venture for Finance Minister

Armenian news website Hetq.am, which specializes in investigative journalism, published an article about the events related to Yerevan's historic Afrikyan building. Hetq.am reporters have revealed that one of Armenia's wealthiest officials, Finance Minister Gagik Khachatryan, is behind the dismantling of the Afrikyan building.  CivilNet presents a summary of that article and some of the last developments below.

Citizens’ efforts to save the historic Afrikyan Building from demolition is proving fruitless. The man behind the destruction of the historic site is one of Armenia’s wealthiest officials, Finance Minister Gagik Khachatryan. Though his involvement is not conspicuous, the actors involved in the demolition process are connected to Khachatryan.  

Located on Teryan 11, the Afrikyan Building was constructed in the late 19th century by the wealthy Afrikyan brothers. They owned many factories and other enterprises, and were members of the city council. The building was the primary site for meetings of prominent figures.

The Afrikyan Building is currently being dismantled by Millenium Construction, which was founded in 2009 by Dvin Holding Ltd. Today, the company is wholly owned by Harutyun Tadevosyan. Millenium Construction is registered in Yerevan, at 20 Sayat-Nova, Apt. 53.  

CivilNet reporters visited that address with the intention of speaking with Tadevosyan, but instead, encountered an elderly woman who claimed to live in the apartment.  She knew nothing about Millenium Construction being registered under that address, nor was she familiar with the name Harutyun Tadevosyan. She said the apartment is owned by her daughter and son-in-law, Sedrak and Nina Javadyan.

Sedrak Javadyan is the chief accountant for ACBA-Credit Agricole Bank and owns a 10 percent share in the bank’s insurance division. Javadyan shared his concern for the fate of the Afrikyan Building and denied any connection to Millenium Construction.  He purchased the apartment in May 2012, from Tigran Shahramanyan, an employee at the Mega Food Company.  

According to the Armenian State Registry, the sons of Gagik Khachatryan, Gurgen and Artyom, were shareholders in Mega Food Company up until 2012.  Currently, the sole shareholder of the company is the director, Aram Khachatryan, who is also Gagik Khachatryan’s cousin.  

Tigran Shahramanyan serves as the head of the company’s public affairs department.  In response to our question about his connection to Millenium Construction and it being registered at his apartment, Tigran Shahramanyan responded, “I am not at liberty to provide additional comments. If there is specific information that interests you, you can leave your number and I will ask someone in authority to contact you and provide explanations.” That “someone in authority” has yet to contact us.  

The legal address for Mega Food Company is the same as the address registered under Harutyun Tadevosyan, 20/3 Margaryan, Apt. 2.  Harutyun Tadevosyan is a shareholder in Megatoy Ltd., a company that also has links to Gagik Khachatryan.  Megatoy Director Anna Avetisyan said that Harutyun Tadevosyan is out of the country and will be back in Armenia after July 10.  Today, she provided Harutyun Tadevosyan’s e-mail address for us to send our inquiries.  We have sent our questions and will add Harutyun Tadevosyan’s comments upon receiving his response.  

ACBA-Credit Agricole Bank chief accountant Sedrak Javadyan remains unaware that his apartment serves as the corporate address for several companies linked with associates of Gagik Khachatryan.  Those companies include Apeyron, Megamotors, and Galaxy Concern, in which Gagik Khachatryan’s sons Artyom and Gurgen, hold equal 50 percent stakes.

On the other hand, Gagik Khachatryan has denied any connection with Millenium Construction, the company that has purchased the historic Afrikyan Building and intends to build a hotel in its place.  

A statement released by the Ministry of Finance reads, “Although the Republic of Armenia’s Ministry of Finance has already denied the Minister’s connection to the Afrikyan Building, the media continues to tie Khachatryan’s name to the construction.  For that reason, we are once again clarifying that neither the Minister nor his relatives have any connection whatsoever to the Afrikyan Building.”  

From 2000 to 2004, the city of Yerevan had no official list of its historic and cultural sites.  During those years, several such sites were sold to commercial enterprises, which were not penalized for demolishing them.

In 2004, the government decided to add the Afrikyan Building to the list of 13 other sites subject to relocation.  In 2005, when the Afrikyan Building was already recognized as a historic site, Mayor Yervand Zakharyan allocated it to Dvin Holding.  The company approached the Yerevan Municipality for permission to construct a residential building on that site and was granted permission for a 10-story residential building.  However, Dvin Holding has yet to present blueprints for a residential building and has transferred its shares to Millenium Construction, which is interested in constructing a hotel in its place.  

On June 23, the Ministry of Culture’s Agency for the Preservation of Historical and Cultural Monuments addressed a letter to Harutyun Tadevosyan and the police regarding incomplete documents provided by the constructors. A halt to the construction was ordered by the Ministry until the necessary documents were provided.  However, two days later, construction recommenced. The Ministry of Culture lifted the ban.