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Vahe Sarukhanyan

Hetq Article Prompts Money Laundering Probe of Former Armenian Deputy Finance Minister

Armenian law enforcement agencies have initiated a criminal probe in a money laundering case involving former Armenian Deputy Finance Minister Artur Afrikyan and his wife Alvard Movsesyan.

Hetq, earlier this month, revealed that Movsesyan recently sold nine properties, with a market value of US$4 million, in Dubai.

Armenia’s Prosecutor General’s Office reviewed Hetq’s findings and sent the case to the Investigative Committee for prosecution.

The properties in question 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.

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.

Afrikyan is involved as a defendant in two criminal cases now in the preliminary investigation stage. One was initiated in April 2017 and is now in the hands of the Anti-Corruption Committee. The other was initiated in February 2019 by the National Security Service.

The Prosecutor General’s Office, in response to a Hetq inquiry, said that after studying our article, it sent it to the main department for the investigation of economic crimes and smuggling, where criminal proceedings were initiated according to Part 3 of Article 296 (money laundering) of the Criminal Code.  

According to the General Prosecutor's Office, there are currently no persons prosecuted within the criminal proceedings.

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