On December 21, Armenian citizen Samvel Sahakyan posted in Facebook that Armenia’s Central Bank (CB) had provided his personal data to a third party without prior notification.
Naturally, Sahakyan (below photo) isn’t happy and says that the CB has violated his information privacy rights.
On December 16, Sahakyan and his wife visited the CB and filed a document regarding some dealing with the FICO Universal Credit Organization. On December 20, Sahakyan received a telephone call from a person representing FICO He also got photos of a video tape showing him and his wife entering the CB.
Sahakyan says that his mother-in-law, a financial analyst, is one of the founders of FICO. The other founder, Garik Mousheghyan, invested the cash. The organization was profitable, per Sahakyan, but disagreements between the two founders surfaced two years ago. His mother-in-law turned over her shares in the business but remained as director. The woman felt under pressure and moved to the U.S. this year.
On December 16, the woman telephones her daughter (Samvel’s wife) and says that Mousheghyan has signed a document that must be filed with the CB. Samvel and the wife go to the CB and file the document. They receive a signed copy of the document showing that it was filed.
Samvel says the letter verifies that Mousheghyan has no problems with his mother-in-law and that she is doing a fine job as director. “I assume that he wrote another letter before this, arguing that he wanted to dismiss her for her poor work record. Now, he probably wanted to restore the woman’s reputation,” says Samvel.
On December 20, Samvel gets a telephone call from someone named Hayk asking him to visit the FICO office to discuss a document. Samvel believes he was talking to Hayk Vardanyan, president of the FICO board.
When Samvel asks what the problem is and can Hayk send him a copy of the document, the caller sends him four photos showing him and his wife entering the CB. He calls back Hayk and tells him that the person in the CB who forwarded the photos is in for trouble. Hayk tells Samvel to be careful.
Samvel would like to know why the CB saw fit to give his personal data to a third party without his consent.
“Perhaps they want to terrorize me. As if I did something wrong by bringing a document to the bank. Maybe the bank has an interest in the matter and thus gave the information to another. Another theory is that the bank sent the photos to the guy in order to identify people filing documents. Without understanding that he’s undermining the bank, he sent them to me. With these photos, the bank has revealed my identity and thus, the guy found my telephone number,” says Samvel.
Hetq contacted the CB for some answers.
In reply, the bank replied that it contacted the police on December 21 on suspicion that the filed document had been forged. The CB says that it requested a criminal investigation into the matter if warranted.
The CB says it its suspicions were raised when it received conflicting letters from the finance organization’s shareholder regarding the future management of the organization.
The CB says that when the shareholder found out about the conflicting document, filed in his name, he wrote to the bank that it was a forgery.
The CB says it cannot divulge any more information not to hinder the ongoing investigation.
Samvel Sahakyan finds the CB’s clarification ridiculous. He argues that even if the document was a fake, the CB only had the right to divulge his personal data to the investigative body and not the finance agency’s shareholder.
Article 26 of Armenia’s Law on the Protection of Personal Data, states that: “The operator may transmit to third parties personal information or provide them with the opportunity to use the data without the consent of the subject of personal data, if it is stipulated by law and there is a satisfactory level of protection.”
So, based on what law did the CB divulge videotape or photos derived from it containing personal data to the representative of a private concern? This remains unclear.
The CB also argues that the building, as a strategic state asset, is monitored for security purposes. It adds that any video recordings are made in the name of the public interest and are not designed to collect personal data.
Samvel Sahakyan says that he has brought the matter to the attention of local news outlets and will be filing a complaint with law enforcement.
“I will be satisfied if they punish the culprit and if the Central Bank apologizes and reprimands its head of security or whoever gave the order,” says Sahakyan.
Sahakyan says that he’s now being targeted with reprisals and that all his mother-in-law’s friends are getting anonymous phone calls. The callers say they will announce that the document filed by Sahakyan is a fake.
“I realize that if I back down, the matter can haunt me later. Thus, the right approach is to neutralize the threat. Let’s assume that the letter was a forgery. What does that have to do with divulging my personal data to a third party?” asks Samvel of the Central Bank.
Sahakyan fears that the CB, by its actions, is allowing various unsavory individuals to swindle him regarding his business affairs.
“It’s very likely that these people have assumed that I and my mother-in-law are involved in some shady business transactions and want to take advantage of the situation,” says Sahakyan, who’s thinking of writing to the country’s president and prime minister about the matter. He wants the issue to be brought to light.
Top photo: Central Bank President Artur Javadyan (artimes.com)