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Vahe Sarukhanyan

Hetq Article Spurs Criminal Probe of SAS Supermarket Owner's Offshore Businesses

Armenia’s Anti-Corruption Committee has launched a criminal case into the offshore businesses of Artak Sargsyan, aka “SAS Artak”, the founder of the SAS supermarket chain in Armenia.

The case is based on an April 2022 Hetq article, (SAS Supermarket Tycoon, Former MP Artak Sargsyan, Failed to Disclose Offshore Company), finding that Sargsyan failed to disclose his foreign companies in his financial declarations while serving as an MP.

Information about Sargsyan's foreign companies and the correspondence of their representatives appeared in the Pandora Papers.

Sargsyan served as an Armenian parliamentary deputy from 2004-2007 and 2012-2019.  

Hetq wrote that Sargsyan and his brother Aram Sargsyan had set up companies in Cyprus and the offshore British Virgin Islands (BVI) to support the SAS supermarket chain.

Artak Sargsyan failed to disclose the fact that he owned 50% of SADA Holding and Investment Inc., registered in the BVI. His brother Aram owned the other 50%.

Artak Sargsyan also did not declare 50% of his shares in the American SAS USA LLC (the remaining 50% belongs to his brother).

Moreover, before the 2012 parliamentary elections, Artak Sargsyan, a parliamentary candidate, stated in a statement to the Central Electoral Commission that he had a 50 % stake in this American company, but in documents submitted to the Ethics Committee (now the Anti-Corruption Commission), there is no mention of the company.

The PGO says it forwarded the Hetq findings to the Anti-Corruption Committee (ACC) on May 2 with instructions to prepare materials in accordance with Articles 180-181 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

On May 15, the AAC decided to initiate a criminal case of “official forgery”. An investigation is underway.

Top photo: Artak Sargsyan

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