Monday, 24 September

The fate of the building at Dzoragyugh # 4

(See also: Diaspora Philanthropists disillusioned with Armenia, and Diaspora Philanthropists in legal spiderweb)

In August, 2003, Arayik Harutunyan, the legal representative of US citizen George Najarian advised that Grigor Igityan's case be tried under Article 178.3 of the Criminal Code. That article defines fraud, i.e., misappropriation of, or obtaining a right over, a substantial part of another party's property through deception or abuse of trust. Point 3 of Article 178 provides for fraud in "exceptionally excessive volumes, punishable from four to eight years of imprisonment, with or without confiscation of property."

In 1995 Grigor Igityan was working on a TACIS project.

"The project was aimed at establishing business partnerships. Manuk Manukyan, the inventor of a grape branch binder, was looking for a potential investor for the large-scale production of his tool, and he approached us. I was the acting director and the local counsel at that time. I introduced Manuk Manukyan to George Najarian, as a result of which they entered into an agreement, pursuant to which they were supposed to establish a joint venture (JV), and Najarian was to provide sustainable financial assistance until the issuance of an international patent for the tool. Najarian appointed me as his official representative in Armenia . Thus, Hyetechlazer JV Closed Joint Stock Company was established in 1995 between Najarian and Manukyan, each having 50% shares." This is an extract from G. Igityan's testimony of September 5, 2003 .

The following is an extract from G. Igityan's statement of September 25, 2003, to Yerevan City Prosecutor Hrachik Badalyan:

"I hereby inform that I was the official representative of the American party of the Armenian -American joint venture "Hyetechlazer CJSC" in Armenia , where Manuk Manukyan and George Najarian each had 50% shares. The company was provided with a plot of land at the address Dzoragyugh #4 in Yerevan , for the purpose of building a public building. Since Najarian asked me to implement the construction, I started it with my own means in the winter of 1999. There was an agreement with Najarian that after being registered under the company, building #4 was to be registered under my name, against Najarian's debt to me. To implement these transactions, Najarian gave me a power of attorney dated December 7, 2001 and instructed M. Manukyan, in the presence of the three of us, that building #4 was to be sold to me. Manukyan will confirm this fact. [Author's note: Manuk Manukyan in his testimony did not confirm that fact). Thus, as agreed, the unfinished structure of Dzoragyugh #4 (two stories, separated space, no roof), which I built, was registered to the company in June 14, 2002 , and afterwards, on July 8, 2002 , the property was registered in my name, as approved by me and M. Manukyan. I immediately informed Najarian of this transaction. Then, I started building the third floor, the arcade, and the roof of building #4, which I finished in Spring 2003. However, in August 2003, more than one year after the transaction, G. Najarian applied to the prosecutor's office demanding the return of building #4 to him. The Yerevan City Prosecutor's Office investigated the matter and I provided clarifications, as the issue was raised that I had misappropriated the building through abuse of trust and illegally. According to Najarian, the power of attorney provided to me did not provide for the right to make a decision on sale of property, despite the fact that I was authorized to vote at the board meetings of the company and make decisions. After consulting with a lawyer on this issue I realized that under some circumstances the transaction might be viewed as not duly formalized. Therefore, I hereby represent (emphasis by G.I.) that I am ready, upon the first written application to me by the administration or any shareholder of Hyetechlazer CJSC, to terminate (emphasis by G.I.) the sale-purchase agreement on Dzoragyugh #4 between me and Hyetechlazer within a reasonable time period and as provided under Armenian law. I, however, retain a right, after the transfer of the building of Dzoragyugh #4 to Hyetechlazer, to claim compensation for past and current expenses made by me on that building."

This statement by Grigor Igityan clearly shows that he had no rights over the building at Dzoragyugh #4. The power of attorney, under which he acted and "justified" his actions, did not provide him with such rights.

In December 7, 2001 , George Najarian provided Grigor Igityan with the following power of attorney:

"I, George Najarian, residing 11 Laurel Drive, Lincoln, Massachusetts, USA, in my capacity as a 50% shareholder of the Armenian-American company Hyetechlazer JV, hereby authorize the official Armenian representative Grigor Igityan to do the following:

- call general meetings of Hytechlazer JV, CJSC, an Armenian-American company, participate and vote at such meetings on my behalf, and on my behalf sign minutes, applications, and other documents addressed to the state and other bodies:

- enter into construction and other agreements for the purposes of construction of the building at Dzoragyugh #4 by my own funds, provided to Hyetechlazer JV CJSC, an Armenian-American company, from my own funds purchase materials and other good for the purposes of implementation of such construction work, and make lease payments for the land of Dzoragyugh #4.

- through my own funds, formalize the completion documents of the construction work for the building at Dzoragyugh #4, and make all necessary registrations of the building with the appropriate state bodies and in the books of Hyetechlazer JV, CJSC, an Armenian-American company;

- require from Manuk Manukyan, the 50% shareholder of Hytechlazer JV, CJSC, an Armenian-American company, all copies of the necessary documents, including foundation and state registration documents of the company, for the implementation of the completion and registration documents of Dzoragyugh #4;

- represent me in court and claim to courts on my behalf pursuant to Article 42, of the RA Civil Code.

This power of attorney shall be in force for three years."

For the time being, let us mention only one fact: Grigor Igityan purchased the building of Dzoragyugh #4 from the director of Hytechlazer JV, CJSC, an Armenian-American company, through a sale-purchase agreement of July 3, 2002, for 100 000 AMD ($200 USD). The photo shows that $200 building.

To be continued ...

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