Asset 3


End of content No more pages to load

Your search did not match any articles

Vahe Sarukhanyan

Wife of Former Armenian Deputy Finance Minister Sells Dubai Properties Worth US$ Four Million

Alvard Movsesyan, wife of former Armenian Deputy Finance Minister Artur Afrikyan, has recently sold nine properties, with a market value of US$4 million, in Dubai.

The properties were first registered in Afrikyan’s name and later transferred to his wife.

In 2018, Hetq published an article covering the real estate acquisitions in Dubai by senior Armenian government officials. Afrikyan was one of those officials.

Afrikyan served as deputy finance minister from 2014 to 2016 and then served as First Deputy Chairman of the State Revenue Committee. He resigned in 2016 when new prime minister Karen Karapetyan was appointed.

Artur Afrikyan left Armenia in June 2018 following the “Velvet Revolution”.  An economist by profession, he held various positions in Armenia’s tax and customs agencies prior to 2014.

In 2018, we wrote that Afrikyan bought seven units of real estate in Dubai. New data from OCCRP suggests the number was even higher.

In the data we had, in the case of two of those seven properties, Afrikyan was listed as the seller, and the year of transactions was 2014. The former official at that time sold his two apartments in the Marina Residences complex on the famous palm-shaped artificial island, Palm Jumeirah. This complex consists of six identical high-rises and six low-rise buildings – townhouses. One of Afrikyan's apartments was in the fourth building, and the other in one of the townhouses.

In 2014 in May, when he became deputy minister of finance, when declaring his property and income at that time, Afrikyan listed only one apartment and one garage as real estate. In his 2014 annual declarations, where property acquired and sold during the given year had to be presented, the former official did not mention any transactions.

It should be noted that concealing data subject to declaration is considered a criminal offense in Armenia since July 2017, and Artur Afrikyan submitted his last declaration in November 2016.

In 2018, we wrote that between 2014-2015 Afrikyan not only sold two apartments in the Marina Residences complex, but also acquired four apartments in the 5-star Address Downtown Hotel and one apartment in the 5-star Address Dubai Mall Hotel in the central Burj Khalifa district of Dubai, where there are not only hotel rooms, but also apartments for sale.

The new data obtained by Hetq show that there were not four, but eight apartments owned by Afrikyan in Address Downtown.

Two of Movsesyan's sold apartments (studios), located on the 41st and 43rd floors of Address Downtown, are currently registered under the name of Hovhannes Kobalyan.

It’s difficult to say how genuine the transactions to transfer the property to Kobalyan are, since the latter has a close relationship with the Afrikyans. Suffice it to say that in the old and new data we have, his e-mail address is listed in the contacts of both Afrikyan and Movsesyan. It can be assumed that Kobalyan was or still is related to Artur Afrikyan's real estate transactions and property management.

Kobalyan's LinkedIn page states he’s been working as director/manager at the Unitac company in Dubai since 1995. Judging by some information related to Kobalyan, he is a longtime resident of Dubai.

It is noteworthy that Kobalyan's acquaintances include Babken Sedrakyan, the Honorary Consul of Kyrgyzstan in Armenia, a former head of the Operational Search (7th) Department of the RA Police, who now serves as the Acting General Director of Yerevan Metro CJSC. In 2018, we wrote that Sedrakyan owns real estate in Dubai.

Apart from selling apartments, Mr. and Mrs. Afrikyan acquired other properties in Dubai.

In the new data obtained, two apartments registered in Alvard Movsesyan’s name are in the uppermost part of the artificial Palm Jumeirah Island, on the 3rd and 4th floors of the Balqis Residence complex. They are 2-bedroom apartments, one with an area of 200 square meters (with a balcony of 37 square meters), the other with an area of 201 square meters (with a balcony of 40 square meters).

Prices for similarly sized two-bedroom apartments in Balqis Residence currently start from 4 million Arab dirhams ($1.1 million). In the Palm Jumeirah area, according to the Dubai cadastre, the annual rent for two-bedroom apartments range between 134,000-164,000 Arab dirhams ($36,000-$45,000.)

According to our data, Alvard Movsesyan is also listed as the owner of two shops in Dubai Marina district. 

In 2020, Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS) filed an international arrest warrant against Afrikyan, charging him with financial improprieties while on the job. 

The NSS says Afrikyan conspired with his boss at the time, Minister of Finance Gagik Khachatryan, to purchase 8,500 electronic locks worth AMD 2.282 billion for the Customs Service even though that agency only needed 2,000 locks.

Armenia’s Anti-Corruption Committee is also investigating Afrikyan in a case of abuse of power launched in 2017. The Prosecutor's Office did not provide details to Hetq. 

Write a comment

Hetq does not publish comments containing offensive language or personal attacks. Please criticize content, not people. And please use "real" names, not monikers. Thanks again for following Hetq.
If you found a typo you can notify us by selecting the text area and pressing CTRL+Enter