Former Armenian MP Artur Gevorgyan: Making Money in the U.S. Real Estate Market While Violating Laws Back Home
Former Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) MP Artur Gevorgyan sold his U.S. apartments last year and bought a house instead.
When purchasing and selling the properties, the official repeatedly violated the Armenian law, including the Constitution. Gevorgyan is the son-in-law of former (2011-2018) Armenia Police Chief Vladimir Gasparyan.
Gevorgyan is a graduate from the Armenian State Institute of Physical Education and is a boxing trainer by profession. In 1996 he took fifth place at the Atlanta Olympic Games. In 1998 he won a bronze medal in the European Championships, and in 2000 he participated in the Olympic Games in Sydney (Australia). He is a Master of Sport, International Class. Between 2001-2003, he was involved in professional boxing in the U.S. Since 2013, he’s served as President of the Armenian Boxing Federation.
Artur Gevorgyan started his political career in 2005. He served as Deputy Head of Yerevan’s Davtashen Community (2005-2008), and in 2008 was elected Community Head. After Yerevan was divided into administrative districts in 2009 and the positions of their heads became significant, Gevorgyan was appointed head of Davtashen that same year, holding the office until 2012.
Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) member Gevorgyan was elected an MP from Davtashen in 2012 by majoritarian system, then in 2017 he was re-elected from the Yerevan’s #2 constituency that includes Arabkir, Ajapnyak and Davtashen. Following the May 2018 "Velvet Revolution”, Arthur Gevorgyan announced his departure from the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) and its parliamentary faction. He remained in the National Assembly until the formation of the new parliament in January 2019.
Gevorgyan did not declare his Glendale and Los Angeles apartments
On August 14, 2015, Gevorgyan purchased a condominium for US$520,000 in Glendale (1130 Campbell St. Unit 104). This building was built in 2010, according to documents, and many Armenians live there. The 146 square meter condo had two bedrooms and three bathrooms.
MP Gevorgyan purchased the condo from 1130 Campbell St. LLC, a company owned by Vaheh Derhartounian. Gevorgyan took out a thirty-year $312,000 mortgage loan from East West Bank to buy the condo.
The MP never listed the condo purchase in his 2015 financial disclosure filed with the Ethics Committee of High-Ranking Officials.
On July 7, 2016, Gevorgyan purchased another apartment, this time in the Valley Village neighborhood of Los Angeles (4832 Whitsett Ave. Unit 103, Valley Village, CA 91607). The deal was valued at $475,000. The 96 square meter apartment had two bedrooms and two bathrooms. Gevorgyan also had Armenian neighbors here.
Gevorgyan purchased the apartment from Holly Ann Feinstein. For the purchase, he took out a thirty-year loan for $285,000 from East West Bank. The MP also failed to list this apartment, as legally required, in his 2016 financial disclosure.
In the fall of 2016, the Armenian press reported that Gevorgyan had acquired two apartments in California. Gevorgyan, in response declared he could present documents showing that there were three dozen properties listed under the name of Artur Gevorgyan in the United States, suggesting that they had nothing to do with him.
“If they’re mine, I’ll invite you as my guest. The election is approaching (referring to the April 2017 parliamentary elections - author), and I realize that there is a smell of political intrigue in the air.”
When asked if he had the financial means to buy such property, Gevorgyan said: "I've been in top sports for twenty years. My first professional contract was for $300,000 in 2001. I have been a two-time Olympian, a winner of a number of major tournaments, and it is quite normal to have ..." When asked if he had any real estate in the United States, he answered no.
MP Gevorgyan has violated the constitution
Following the media reports, on February 17, 2017 Gevorgyan sold the above two apartments to Arvivi, a company he founded just two weeks earlier. (The company was registered at the same Glendale apartment's address - 1130 Campbell St. Unit 104.
It appears that Gevorgyan rushed to create a shadow company to conceal his ownership of U.S. property.
To date, the sole owner and manager of Arvivi is Artur Gevorgyan. Given that he was a MP when he founded the company, Gevorgyan violated Article 95 of the RA Constitution, barring him from engaging in any commercial business. (See below)
It should be noted that the transactions for the transfer of apartments to Arvivi, whose value is not mentioned, are presented in the documents as a "quitclaim deed". As a rule, these are transactions where the transmitter and receiver are connected or the same person. Such transactions are often carried out between family members as a gift, or when a person transfers the property to his/her company, etc.
It is logical that Gevorgyan, who did not disclose the purchase of the apartments, did not list their sale in his 2017 disclosure. Moreover, he did not mention his involvement in Arvivi in the document. It appears to be yet another violation, but the point is that Article 314.3 of the Criminal Code came into force on July 1, 2017, stating that both the false reporting/concealing of financial disclosure data is now considered a criminal offense.
Note that on February 27, 2017, before the parliamentary election, when the apartments had already been sold to Arvivi, Gevorgyan submitted a disclosure to the Central Electoral Commission (CEC), but did not mention the American company in it as well.
Naturally, one might ask what evidence is there proving that the Arthur Gevorgyan, listed as the owner of the American property and company, is the same MP Artur Gevorgyan.
The proof is in the signatures in the CEC disclosure and the Arvivi document. Both signatures are identical, even down to the use of the Greater and Lesser Ararat symbols.
Sale of apartments
On March 5, 2019, Arthur Gevorgyan, who was no longer a parliamentary deputy, sold the L.A. Valley Village on behalf of Arvivi LLC. It was purchased by Tara Ashley Holt for $515,000. The MP bought the property in 2016 for $475,000. Both Gevorgyan and the new buyer purchased the apartment through a loan. One month after this transaction, on April 3, Gevorgyan fully repaid the $285,000 loan he received from East West Bank in 2016.
On the same day, April 3, the Glendale apartment sale transaction was registered. Gevorgyan, who purchased the property in 2015 for $520,000, sold it, via Arvivi, to Vahe Hovhannisyan and Anna Grigoryan. The deal cost $680,000. The buyers took out a $611,320 loan. As you have noticed, the former MP sold both apartments for a much higher price. On April 30, 2019, Gevorgyan paid off the 2015 $312,000 East West Bank loan he used to buy the Glendale apartment.
Private house instead of apartments
On March 6, 2019, one day after the sale of his Los Angeles apartment, Artur Gevorgyan purchased a home at 1426 Merriman Drive in Glendale. (See photo)
The property was sold by Andre and Armine Torosyan and The Torosyan Family Trust. Armenians owned the house before the Torosyans.
The sale price agreed to by Gevorgyan and the Torosyans was $1,525,000. (The house had been listed at $1,599,000). This time again, Gevorgyan took out a mortgage loan from East West Bank for $800,000, with a maturity of 30 years (until 2049). The purchase and sale of the house was done through two brokers - Martin Lazarian and Mike Babakhanyan.
Gevorgyan did something interesting when he purchased the house. He set up an “interspousal transfer grand deed” with his wife, Anna Gasparyan, signifying that she agrees that the property is solely owned by her husband.
This document is yet further evidence that the Artur Gevorgyan, listed as the sole owner of the property, is the very same MP Artur Gevorgyan who is married to Anna Gasparyan, the daughter of former Armenia Police Chief Vladimir Gasparyan.
The 250 square meter house, with three bedroom, three baths and a double garage, baths, was built in 1952. It sits on a 1,127 square meter lot featuring an outdoor swimming pool.
According to 2019 tax data, the real estate is valued at $963,000 ($674,000 land, $289,000 home), with an estimated $11,000 property tax.
After Artur Gevorgyan sold the two apartments and bought this new home, Arvivi changed its registration address in April 2019, moving from Glendale Campbell Street to Meriman Drive.
On January 23, 2020, Gevorgyan registered the house under his name and that of The Artur Gevorgyan Living Trust.