The Corruption Trajectory of Offshore Scandal: Will there be legal consequences?
“I don’t believe that there is an honest capital in Armenia. And if we start to look for them, we will have to send everyone to prison. Let us forgive people, let the money come to Armenia. We are not in the situation to consider it a serious problem and punish them,” Advocate Tigran Atanesyan said it during the discussion at Media Center entitled “The Corruption Trajectory of Offshore Scandal: Will there be legal consequences?”

The speaker clarified, “It's hard for money here so it is taken offshore. That is why an amnesty of capitals should be announced. Let them not explain the origin of money. They say Mihran Poghosyan has 800 mln USD, how great it will be if he did his business in Armenia.” Media Center asked if the legality of the money should not be found out. The speaker answered, “We understand that big capital cannot sustain in Armenia without state contribution.  Maybe that is the reason why people have to go to the state institutes to protect their capital. That is the issue.” 

Member of “Prosperous Armenia” NA Faction Mikayel Melkumyan also emphasized that the investments in business are not insured in Armenia, “I think that making scapegoats, attacks and turning off small fires can be manifestations of PR. However, we need large actions; the whole governing system should be changed. But one thing is to say, other thing is to do.”

Legal Adviser of “Transparency International” anti-corruption center Heriknaz Tigranyan said that they are no expectations in terms of legal consequences. “It is important to make an atmosphere of inevitability of punishment in order everyone understands that he will not be unpunished. It is not important how – fine or criminal liability. It is also important to prohibit taking the position in future,” the speaker said.  

She also noticed that that up to now we have seen the contrary. “Hovik Abrahamyan thanked Mihran Poghosyan after resigning and did not speak about the offshore scandal. Maybe he was really a good head of the service and Hovik Abrahamyan referred to him as a head. But the society expected him to exhort other officials to avoid doing business activities and corruption scandals as they defame the state. But we heard no criticism.”

The speakers also spoke about the announcement of Hovik Abrahamyan about the fight against struggle. Mikayel Melkumyan, member of the Board of Struggle Against Corruption, said that the Board which was formed on February 19, 2015 has made one session up to now. “The Prime Minister speaks about the fight against monopolists but he should inform how much damage has been made to state up to now and how to change the situation. It does not refer to natural monopolists but to the monopolists. There are markets where only several subjects domain. The Government should speak in a clear language what problem there is that no subject remains in those markets. Now the Government is not a reformer,” NA Member of Parliament concluded.

RA Deputy Minister of Justice Suren Qrmoyan asked to mention also the positive changes. He said, “A draft bill was developed which stipulates that if there is wrong information in the declarations of high officials, an administrative as well as criminal prosecution will be conducted.  The draft was already sent to the National Assembly and it will be discussed soon. This is a part of the strategy of fight against corruption. This is done not for state authorities or NGOs but for increasing the trust of the society towards state system,” Deputy Minister of Justice said and added that it was also a requirement of the European Union.

Arevik Sahakyan, Program coordinator at “Media Center”

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