Saturday, 22 September

Serop Der-Boghossian: Will He Be Charged with Paedophilia?

By Larisa Paremuzyan, Levon Hayrapetyan 
Advisor to Amenia's Prime Minister Taped "In the Act"

Serop Der-Boghossian is a U.S. citizen and advisor to Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan. He is also Chairman of the Board of Metal Prince, a company that operates the Akhtala Mountain Enrichment Combinat.

There are allegations that he is also is fond of young boys. News regarding Mr. Der-Boghossian’s alleged paedophile activities in Akhtala, Alaverdi and Yerevan has been circulating for years. It is said that his sexual attraction to children has been known to the Tumanyan Police Department and the Alaverdi Branch of the National Security Service.

Residents of the town of Alaverdi have quietly accused Mr. Der-Boghossian of handing out large sums of cash to boys of destitute families in return for molesting them.

$30,000 in hush money demanded

On January 28, a Hetq police source, said that Vahram Parsadanyan, 25 year-old Akhtala resident, who was in debt for $30,000, telephoned Der-Boghossian on January 22 and threatened to circulate a video tape of his sexual exploits if the Metal Prince didn’t pay him $30,000 in hush money.

News of such a damning recording has made the rounds in Alaverdi and Akhtala for the past six months without let up. Mr. Der-Boghossian reported the threat as blackmail to the police. Early on the morning of January 22, the police rousted Vahram Parsadanyan from his house. He handed over the tape to the officers. Hetq’s police source says that’s when the case broke wide open.

"The tape shows a 15 year-old boy and Serop together. Serop was the dominant one," Hetq’s source said, adding that more than scores of boys from Akhtala, some minors, offered similar testimony to law enforcement. 17 gave testimony in Yerevan and the rest in Vanadzor. The Hetq source says that the National Security Service, the Prosecutor General and the RA Police have all started to actively investigate the case.

Where is Serop Der-Boghossian now?

Serop Der-Boghossian hasn’t been seen in Akhtala for the past week. He has disbanded the football team he was sponsoring for 15-16 year-old boys. Many of the young players, according to our source, have also been victimized by the Metal Prince owner. Souren Barseghyan, the team coach, has been fired. There are two rumors now circulating in Akhtala.

One is that the government will seize the enrichment plant from Der-Boghossian and deport him. The other is that he will be charged and tried. Hetq’s police source says that Der-Boghossian knew that the police had started to take an interest in his off-the-job activities. Recently, Der-Boghossian returned from the States with his brother. It is said he signed over all his possessions, including the Akhtala Enrichment Combinat, in his brother’s name.

Man with sex tape tight-lipped

Yesterday we went to visit Vahram Parsadanyan in Akhtala. He was sleeping. His mother, Lida Parsadanyan got irritated when she learnt the reason of our visit.  "We know nothing. We have no knowledge of anything. Sure, the cops detained him. So what? They just asked him a question. Then he returned. He has nothing to say.

He hasn’t said a word since returning," Mrs. Parsadanyan told us. When asked about the tape recording, Vahram’s mother said, "He handed it over to the, they didn’t even hold him for a day." Upon waking up, Vahram was as tight-lipped as his mother. "I have nothing else to say," he commented. While in Akhtala, he met up with the boy partnered with Serop Der-Boghossian in the tape. "Yeah, you can say I know Mr. Serop. He took me to Tzaghkadzor a few times. He didn’t just take me but a few kids," the boy said. He told us that there used to be four at home, but now it’s just him and his mother.

The father left for Russia when the boy was one and a half years-old. The father hadn’t been heard from in many years but recently sent word. The boy doesn’t know his exact location.

Boy in tape – Mr. Serop gave me money

The boy said the Serop Der-Boghossian had given him various amounts of money. "He gave me 10,000 AMD, 20,000, and even 50,000. I don’t know if he gave money to the others but there are many boys who deal with him.

There are guys from the football team too." Serop Der-Boghossian gave the boy money under a number of pretences – money for medicine for his mom, money to pay their debts at the store, etc. "I feel really close to him since he’s helped me a lot. He respects me as a child and I, in turn, respect him as a close friend." Regarding staying at Der-Boghossian’s office alone or going to his house on Aramyants Street, the boy said, "I go to the guesthouse all the time for information lessons. It’s harder to learn by computer. I was the one that asked for permission to go to the guesthouse. Sure I went to his place. Yeah, we were intimate together, me and Serop. And I wasn’t the only one. He really respects the kids.The first time we got together was March 8, 2007. I told him I wanted to get a gift for my mom and sisters. That day, he gave me 12,000 AMD. After that he would help me out now and then, not always. Sometimes once a month, sometimes twice. We started to become intimate when he took me to Tzaghkadzor." The boy said the last time, Serop Der-Boghossian gave him 200,000 for his sister’s betrothal. "No, that money and the rest that he gave me, I never returned. Yep, he was like that. I figure he’s given me around 500,000 all together. I always go to him with my problems," says the underage boy.

Hetq waited for sufficient evidence

Hetq has been following this story for a year now. We know the names of the boys with which had intimate relations. We waited to break the story now, since we have ample corroborating proof. Lernik Jijilyan, Principal of the Andranik Margaryan School in Akhtala, offered the following advice regarding the rumors of Serop Der-Boghossian paedophilia - "Hearing the rumors is one thing, substantiating them is another," The boy in the tape attends this school. Principal Jijilyan says the boy is an average student and that the school has a computer class and that the upper level pupils are computer literate.

Thus, the boy’s story about going to Mr. Der-Boghossian’s house to learn the computer is somewhat improbable. At this moment, it’s hard to predict how the story will unravel. Mr. Der-Boghossian is a citizen of the U.S. and has friends in high places in Armenia. He’s an influential businessman and an advisor to Prime Minister Sargsyan.

P.S. - After this story went to press, Aram Ananyan, Assistant to the RA Prime Minister, informed Hetq that as of December 31, 2010, Serop Der-Boghossian no longer has served as Tigran Sargsyan’s advisor. Mr. Ananyan added that he sent a memo to the government website, instructing them to remove Mr. Der-Boghossian as one of the PM's advisors.

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