How does one obtain over US$200,000 in loans without having any official income to show?
Well, in Armenia, is doesn’t hurt to be married to Sargis Grigoryan, who heads the Control Service of Armenia’s Prime Minister.
Despite the fact that Armineh Kocharyan, Grigoryan’s wife, never worked in 2013 and declared no financial revenues, she was able to receive three substantial bank loans – US$50,000, US$30,000 and 41 million AMD (US$86,320).
Naturally, the question arises as to how she convinced the banks to advance her credit given her lack of declared revenue. Or, perhaps, she’s just concealed her financial assets from public scrutiny and the banks know this to be the case.
So much for the financial transparency heralded by the government when President Serzh Sargsyan signed a decree to form a Commission on Ethics of High-Level Officials on January 9, 2012. At the time, Sargsyan proclaimed that the Commission’s mission would be to increase social trust toward public institutions in the country, create a system of good governance, as well as make high-level officials’ activities more transparent and public.
Needless to say, the Commission has yet to reveal anything about top officials that would engender such public trust. To be fair, according to the law the Commission’s powers are somewhat restricted and, even if it wanted to, the body doesn’t have the teeth to carry out its stated mission.
In countries where they are serious about following the money trails of top government officials, the loans obtained by Armineh Kocharyan would have raised a few red flags; but not in Armenia.
Whereas banks require village farmers seeking much smaller loans to put up substantial collateral (houses, property, etc.) and have 3-5 individuals sign as loan guarantors, Kocharyan received those loans in 2013 and another 40 million AMD ($84,000) in 2012, showing no financial revenues.
Now, let’s get back to her husband Sargis Grigoryan, who’s headed the Control Service since 2003, and his financial dealings.
In 2010, he declared 250,000 Euros and 4 million AMD in cash assets. By the end of2011, those figures had changed to 100,000 Euros and 6 million AMD. By the way, his only declared income that year was 4.420 million AMD in salary.
Where Grigoryan obtained the 250,000 Euros in the first place and what happened to the 150,000 Euros in the course of one year is anyone’s guess.
Evidently, Armenia’s Ethics Committee isn’t losing any sleep over the matter.
Photo of Sargis Grigoryan from Armenian government website.