Panama Papers Fallout in Armenia; Local NGO Files Petition to Launch Investigation of Top Official

Armenia’s Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center (TIACC) today filed a petition with the Ethics Committee for High Level Officials, requesting that it launch a case to investigate the offshore business dealings of Major-General of Justice Mihran Poghosyan, head of the Armenia’s Compulsory Enforcement Service.

In an April 4 article entitled Mihran Poghosyan: The Armenian General Who Mastered the Ins and Outs of Panama's Offshore Zone, Hetq revealed that Poghosyan has shares in three companies registered in Panama.

The data was obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) with the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and more than 110 media partners from 82 countries, including hetq.am.

Details about these transactions are buried in the Panama Papers, a trove of internal data of Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian legal firm doing business in offshore tax havens for clients who want to hide their identities and/or holdings. There are Armenians included in these documents – CES chief Mihran Poghosyan and members of the families of his uncles Grigor and Mikhail Haroutyunyan.

While the Ethics Committee has the right to order an investigation based on these findings, the body failed to do so, arguing that it first needed a third party petition to do so.

Not agreeing with the committee’s stance, the TIACC has filed such a petition, stating that it wants the committee to immediately launch a case to investigate all the evidence in question.