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Hrant Gadarigian

Recovering Assets: Armenian Official Talks to U.S. FBI

On the sidelines of the International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) taking place in Washington D.C., Srpuhie Galyan, an official at Armenia’s Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO), met with representatives of the U.S. FBI to discuss the return of assets illegally transferred out of Armenia.

The PGO, in a statement, does not specify what these assets are or their amount.

After Nikol Pashinyan came to power in Armenia in 2018, he announced an intention to recover “the people’s stolen wealth.”

Since then, Armenia’s PGO has filed thirteen lawsuits demanding the confiscation of property worth more than US$100 million it claims was acquired by corrupt means.

Many of the PGO’s targets include past and present Armenian officials.

A case recently in the news involves former Armenian finance minister Gagik Khachatryan who was arrested on embezzlement and abuse of power charges in 2019.

In May of this year, the U. S. Department of Justice took steps to seize a Los Angeles mega-mansion allegedly purchased with bribes paid by an Armenian businessman to the family of Gagik Khachatryan.

The Armenian government says it wants to recover the $20 million Khachatryan received in bribes when minister.

Estimates of illegally acquired money in Armenia ranges from several million to close to one billion over the past thirty years. As to the amount ferreted out of the country remains unanswered.

(The Washington DC-based non-profit research and consulting organization Global Financial Integrity, which periodically publishes reports on illegal finances flowing from developing countries, wrote in 2015 that US$9.8 billion was illegally transferred out of Armenia between 2004-2013.)

Photo: The Khachatryan family’s mansion in Los Angeles

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