Friday, 21 September

From Millions to Zero: Armenia’s Prime Minister No Longer Sells Fruit and Veg

For years, Hovik Abrahamyan, Armenia’s prime minister since 2014, has declared millions of AMD (35-45 depending on the year) in revenue from the sale of ‘agricultural goods’.

40 million AMD roughly translates to US$97,500.

No one actually knew what those goods were – tomatoes, cucumbers, or potatoes – or where he got them to sell. More surprisingly, in his disclosures, Abrahamyan never mentioned that he owned any land on which to possibly farm.

In an October 2014 article entitled “All in the Family: Armenian Prime Minister’s Booming Business Empire”, Hetq revealed that Abrahamyan owns more than fifty businesses in Armenia, but none are officially registered under his name. Abrahamyan owns them via proxies – his family members. (He’s married, has three children and seven grandchildren) This way he’s not in violation of the Armenian Constitution prohibiting government officials from engaging in commercial enterprise while in office.

In 2011, when Abrahamyan was the president of Armenia’s parliament, he declared 40 million AMD in the sale of agricultural goods. In 2012 that figure was 45 million, in 2013 – 40 million, in 2014 – 30 million.

Last year, however, this source of the prime minister’s income seemingly has dried up. On his official financial disclosure, Abrahamyan declared zero income from the sale of agricultural goods.

It seems that Abrahamyan has gotten wise to the contradiction and has decided to put the issue to bed. So what’s become of his agricultural enterprises?

Hovik Abrahamyan’s wife Julieta, continues to declare millions in income from the sale of agricultural goods.

Hovik and Julieta Abrahamyan: Revenue from Sale of Agricultural Goods (AMD millions)

When it comes to financial oversight of top Armenian government officials, the Commission on Ethics of High-Ranking Officials, the oversight body that receives such disclosures, has failed to ask the tough questions. Thus, officials often declare “other income” but fail to specify the source. The Commission never digs any deeper to reveal such sources. No wonder Abrahamyan was able to declare agricultural income even though he owns no farmland registered in his name. (Some lands are registered under his wife’s name). Such a contradiction never registers with the Commission. CHART Hovik Abrahamyan’s Financial Snapshot Green – Revenues Red – Cash Assets (AMD) Blue – Cash Assets (US$)

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