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Kristine Aghalaryan

Tax Official: Nareg Hartounian and Others See Armenia as Cash Cow

Armen Alaverdyan, First Deputy to the President of the RA State Revenue Committee, issued a statement today that basically charged diaspora businessman Nareg Hartounian with viewing Armenia as a cash cow to be milked.

“The case of Nareg Hartounian, in typical Armenian fashion, is one in which Armenia is regarded as a source of profits and, tragically, evasion of taxes goes hand in hand,” Alaverdyan said.

Alaverdyan made the statement during a live TV link-up with the U.S. on the general topic of diaspora investment, with particular attention paid to cases where the rights of diaspora investors have been violated.

Participating in the discussion were MP’s, officials from the State Revenue Committee, the Deputy Minister of Diaspora Affairs and lawyers representing diaspora investors.

Alaverdyan charged the Hartounian family company with importing macaroni and flour from Russia for three years and not disclosing the correct sales figures.

The SEC official estimated the difference between the actual and reported sales figure to be around 20%

Hartounian family lawyer Lernik Hovhannisyan refuted the charges made by Alaverdyan.

Hovhannisyan argued that the inspector issued incorrect information as to when Nareg Hartounian actually managed the company.

Mr. Hovhannisyan responded that Hartounian wasn’t even in Armenia at the time and was called back in September of 2010 when it was discovered that 120 million AMD had been embezzled from the company.

The lawyer argued that at the time of the alleged tax evasion, it was Artyom Martirosyan who served as director of the company and that Nareg Hartounian had no connections to the company at all.

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