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Samson Martirosyan

Armen Sarkissian's Dual Citizenship Probe: Armenia's Security Service Dragging Its Heels

The whereabouts of former Armenian President Armen Sarkissian remains a mystery following his unexpected resignation from the post on January 23, 2022.

Sarkissian was not in Armenia when he resigned. He stepped down after visiting the United Arab Emirates on an official visit.

Sarkissian, who held the post as Armenia’s head of state for four years, did not give precise reasons for his resignation.

“In the current challenging period for the state and the nation, the president does not have the necessary tools to influence the fundamental processes in domestic and foreign policy,” he said as he stepped down.

What he failed to mention in his resignation statement was that Hetq had revealed that was a citizen of another country before his election to the presidency in 2018.

The country in question is a small island country in the Caribbean - St. Kitts and Nevis. 

The Armenian constitution forbids presidential candidates having dual citizenship in the six years prior to their election. Sarkissian acknowledged that he was a citizen of St. Kitts and Nevis in his correspondence with Hetq. He claimed that due to his investments in the Caribbean nation, he was granted citizenship “without his knowledge” via the country’s Citizenship-by-Investment program.

Hetq also learnt that Sarkissian and his sister Karine Sargsyan had more than 10 million Swiss francs in their Credit Suisse bank account. This account was opened in 2006 and was serviced by the bank until 2016. Having an account in a Swiss bank is not a crime. However, the president did not declare the money in his 2013 declaration upon assuming the post of Ambassador of Armenia to the UK or in his 2014, 2015 and 2016 annual declarations.

In March of this year, Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS) confirmed to Hetq that an investigation into Sarkissian’s second passport had been opened.

Whether the NSS is still investigating Sarkissian’s citizenship issue is questionable.

Hetq contacted the NSS for clarification.

“The requested information contains preliminary examination data that is not subject to publication," the NSS responded.

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