28 August, 2019 02:16

Armenia’s National Security Service to Detain Former Finance Minister 

By Ani Paitjan

During a briefing on August 27, Artur Vanetsyan, head of the National Security Service (NSS) of Armenia, told reporters that former Minister of Finance Gagik Khachatryan will be detained. 

The NSS has launched a criminal case against Khachatryan on charges of large-scale financial embezzlement and abuse of official position. According to Vanetsyan, the NSS will release a report on the criminal case.

“NSS officials are conducting a search in the house, apartment and territories belonging to him. The search is also carried out in the houses and territories of people related to him,” Vanetsyan said. 

Khachatryan is widely known by his nickname “Super Minister” because of his dual positions as chief tax officer and minister of Finance. He is also considered to be one of the richest people in the country.

His two sons, Gurgen and Artyom Khachatryan, and his nephew Aram Khachatryan, own nearly 50 percent of Ucom, one of the largest internet providers in Armenia. 

Read More: Ucom Pledges 89% Stake (in Armenian)

Khachatryan and his family also own Nakrinamang, a real estate company based in Paris. An investigation led by CivilNet’s Mkrtich Karapetyan concluded that the company’s activities are almost nonexistent. However, the company's capital rose from 2,000 euros to 2,622,000 euros in one year. Additionally, the Khachatryan family bought an apartment in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Paris amounting to 2,620,000 euros.

In 2017, Gagik Khachatryan and his family were swept up in a financial scandal that was exposed by the worldwide journalistic investigation known as the Paradise Papers.  The scandal dealt with Bradwell Investment Corp., a company owned by Khachatryan’s nephew Aram Khachatryan.Bradwell Investment is accused by the Seychelles government's Financial Intelligence Unit of laundering $11.8 million in addition to several tax violations.