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Former Armenian Finance Minister Said to Have Accepted $22.4 Million Bribe

Armenia’s Prosecutor General’s Office today announced that Gagik Khachatryan, a former head of the State Revenue Committee (SRC) and former Minister of Finance, arrested last August on embezzlement and abuse of power charges, accepted 8.142 billion AMD ($22.401million) in bribes from Multi Group Concern General Director Sedrak Arustamyan.

Khachatryan, according to the understanding reached with Arustamyan, was to keep state tax and customs agencies from prying into the operations of Multi Group Concern.

Multi Group was established in 1998 by Gagik Tsarukyan, an Armenian businessman who also heads the Prosperous Armenia Party. A holding group, Multi Concern owns the Yerevan Ararat Brandy Wine-Vodka Factory, Euromotors, Multi Group Stone, Kotayk Brewery, and several other companies.

According to the indictment, Gagik Khachatryan’s sons took steps to conceal the illegal source of the money by transferring it to the accounts of foreign and non-resident organizations.

Arustamyan has been charged with conspiracy to bribe and money laundering.

Khachatryan is said to run a vast business empire. The former official denies such reports.

Khachatryan headed the SRC from 2008-2014 and served as finance minister form 2014-2016.

Charges have also been launched against three SRC top officials.

Photo (from left): Sedrak Arustamyan, Gagik Khachatryan

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