Armenia’s Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center has lambasted the dropping of a criminal investigation into the offshore business interests of former Compulsory Enforcement Service head Mihran Poghosyan, describing the decision of the country’s Special Investigative Service as a cover-up.
The Center writes: “We believe that the sponsorship, unprofessional approach and lack of follow-up by the authorities regarding similar cases in the past, like the Cyprus offshore business scandal surrounding former prime minister Tigran Sargsyan served as a precedent for the dropping of the criminal case against Poghosyan.”
Last week, the SIS announced that it stopped investigating the offshore accounts of former Major General of Justice Mihran Poghosyan after Swiss and Panamanian authorities refused to help the probe into Panama Papers revelations.
It turned out that the Swiss Federal Department of Justice turned down the Armenian request for legal assistance because the requirements of the request were not properly fulfilled.
Armenian authorities launched an investigation into last April’s media reports claiming the Panama Papers revealed that Poghosyan had shares in three offshore companies and that he was using his position to advance his business interests while concealing his income.
The leaked document trove revealed that as of 2011, Poghosyan was connected to three companies registered in Panama: Sigtem Real Estates Inc.; Hopkinten Trading Inc.; and Bangio Invest S.A. He was the sole owner of Sigtem and Hopkinten, but it is not clear from the documents how much of Bangio he owned.