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Edik Baghdasaryan

Igityan's apartment searched following prosecutors' board meeting

The court hearing of the case Najarians v. the Prosecutor General's Office has again been delayed for a week, the second time in a row that a hearing has been inexplicably postponed. Although presiding Judge Poghosyan points to Judge Eva Darbinyan's illness as the reason, our sources have informed us that Judge Darbinyan was in the courthouse that day.

Igityan's apartment was first searched in May 22, 2004, with a warrant from the court. Two days before the search warrant was issued, Chief Investigator Armen Nadiryan, in substantiating his decision to conduct a search of Igityan's apartment, wrote the following: ".there is sufficient evidence before the investigation to believe that there are ... documents, as well as information regarding the accounting, ... considerable amounts of drams, foreign currency, valuable items, as well as other items and objects of importance for the case..." and requested that the court issue a warrant for the search.

Apparently, Investigator Nadiryan hope to determine through that search whether Igityan had sufficient means to make large investments in the construction of the buildings, since according to Igityan, he had spent about $400,000 on the construction of the two buildings on Dzoragyugh. Clearly, the investigators were supposed to check the source, if any, of Igityan's fortune; thus, a warrant was issued to search Igityan's apartment. The Report on Search, which comprises part of Volume 7 of the case materials, contains six documents that were found, followed by the note: " The search did not reveal other documents, agreements or other items of significance to the case, considerable amounts of drams, foreign currency, or valuable items ." (emphasis added to underscore the absurdity of the investigators' further conduct, and their distortion of the case.)

Surprisingly, Investigator Nadir an examined Igityan's apartment once again, on October 2, 2004. In his last statements to investigators, Igityan had said that his wife had at some point inherited a fortune from her parents. This time, when Nadiryan went to Igityan's apartment, he took with him "an appraiser of antiques and paintings", Gagik Ashughatoyan. Ashughatoyan, a member of the Union of Painters of Armenia, worked as an expert in antiques at Armexpertiza, and is currently the director of Antique, LLC.

This time, the search of the apartment revealed "treasures", including "a painting hanging on the wall adjacent to the door to the living-room, 80x38 cm, with a museum frame initialed 'E Fassati'. The painting displays a scene of Venice; according to the representation of the expert, Ashughatoyan, it is an oil painting made on canvas, painted by a painter in the second half of the 19 th century, well preserved, no indication of reconstruction, with a market value of $4,000 to $5,000."

The investigators, the expert, and witnesses discovered huge numbers of valuable items - an antique grandfather clock, various items made of gold and silver, jewelry, a silver service, and more. The question Nadiryan should answer is why these valuable items were not found during the search of the apartment conducted only five month ago.

The fact is the October search of Igityan's apartment was the last attempt to find evidence, after which investigators dropped the case.

The most interesting thing is that two hours before the apartment was searched, there had been a board meeting of the prosecutors, at which Nadiryan had presented the Najarians' case. According to our source in the Prosecutor General's Office, at the beginning of the meeting, Prosecutor General Aghvan Hovsepyan stated that since the name of his brother has been mentioned in connection with the case, he could not "participate" in the debate or the decision making. When Chief Investigator Nadiryan presented the case, the board members asked some questions, and one of the questions, clearly, was whether the investigator had verified Igityan's sources of income, and the Investigator maintained that he had. The decision was made at the meeting to dismiss the case.

A day earlier, on October 1, 2004, American philanthropist Carolann Najarian had met Prosecutor General Hovsepyan. Thus far, Carolann Najarian has refrained from elaborating on the details of that meeting. However, it was following her meeting with Hovsepyan that Carolann Najarian and her husband George went to the media with their open letter.