Serop Der-Boghossian, American-Armenian businessman and owner of Metal Prince Ltd now facing paedophilia charges, is regarded by some as a suspect in the disappearance of former Metal Price LTD Executive Director Gagik Azatyan.
Azatyan went missing on May 25, 2009 after leaving his house. The case is being investigated by the National Security Service.
Immediately after Azatyan went missing, his relatives told investigators that they believed Der-Boghossian was involved.
Azatyan’s uncle, Martun Azatyan, says that investigators told them they shouldn’t say such things about Der-Boghossian whom law enforcement deemed a “good man”.
Martun Azatyan also told him that if he had information regarding the disappearance he should come forward and not be afraid since Der-Boghossian was in an untenable position and that he wouldn’t be harming anyone.
Gagik Azatyan served as the executive Director of the Akhtala Enrichment Combine from 1992-2002. His working relationship with Der-Boghossian began on March 1, 2001 when Metal Prince and the Armenian government agreed to jointly run the Akhtala Combine, then under government jurisdiction.
That first year, Metal Prince invested $1 million to restart the factory and Martun Azatyan was the engineer in charge.
After 7 months of work, the factory reopened.
Martun Azatyan says that before the reopening Der-Boghossian promised to make his nephew Gagik a 10% shareholder in the factory.
In February 2002, Gagik Azatyan was dismissed from his post by then Minister of Industry Karen Jshmarityan.
Martun Azatyan says that afterwards Der-Boghossian seemed to have second thoughts regarding making Gagik Azatyan a shareholder as promised.
Martun Azatyan goes on to say that Der-Boghossian charged his nephew with embezzling $200,000 from the investment budget but that a court found the deficit to be only 9 million AMD, an amount repaid by Gagik Azatyan.
Der-Boghossian never reconciled himself with the amount according to Martun Azatyan and continued to hound his nephew in the courts for the next seven years.
Gagik Azatyan left his house, never to return, after getting a call from Vasily Sandukov, an employee at the Stepanavan Armanis mine owned by Metal Prince.
Sandukov participated in the renovation of the Akhtala Combine and was on close terms with Der-Boghossian.
Martun Azatyan told Hetq that for many years Serop Der-Boghossian refused to pay $80,000 in back wages owed Gagik Azatyan.
He said that Gagik was preparing to take the Metal Price owner to court but that he went missing five days later.
(Photo – left to right: Gagik Azatyan, former Lori Regional Governor Henrik Kochinyan, Serop Der-Boghossian