Grisha Balasanyan

Armenia’s SIS Chief of Staff: Unaccounted Wealth and Big Business Interests in Mining

Davit Sukiasyan, Chief of Staff of Armenia’s Special Investigation Service (SIS), has so much wealth at his disposal that it would suffice to manage several state institutions - pay salaries, maintain the buildings, and so on.

But Sukiasyan prefers to invest his wealth in Armenia’s mining industry, as we shall soon see. He also likes to spread his money around, loaning huge amounts to others whose names are “officially protected”.

According to his financial disclosure filed with the Ethics Committee of High-Ranking Officials, he had 2.344 million AMD (US$4,870) and a loan of $ 20,000 in income as of July 1,2017; all derived from wages.

Despite these paltry sums, Sukiasyan has so much “additional” money that, in the same disclosure, he declared four loans to unnamed individuals or organizations totaling 1 billion 126 million 500 thousand AMD, U.S. $375,000, and 20 thousand euros.

So where did Sukiasyan’s “additional” resources come from. Better still, does the Ethics Committee see a need to delve into his finances given the huge disparity between what he declares as income and what he doles out in loans to others?   

Sukiasyan also declared four cars- a Mercedes-Benz 500S, a Range Rover Supercharged 5.0, a Lexus GX460, a ZAZ 968 - and a private house.

Although real estate addresses are not published in the disclosures, Hetq found out that the private house is located in the village of Arinj.

Davit Sukiasyan also owns some commercial companies. As of July 1, he mentioned three that he owns.

According to the Law on Public Service, the names of the companies are not subject to publication, but Hetq has found out that DLS GROUP, MVVINING and ML MINING belong to the official, and in all cases Davit Sukiasyan owns a 100% equity stake.

Moreover, after submitting the disclosure, the official has become the sole proprietor of another company – ANI-KVARTZ LLC.

ANI-KVARTZ LLC was founded in 2011 by Ruzanna Hovsepyan, the wife of ex-Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan's brother Henrik (Jonik) Abrahamyan. He left the company on August 8 this year and Davit Sukiasyan became 100% shareholder of ANI-KVARTZ LLC the same day. According to the tax authority, the company has temporarily suspended operations. It is engaged in gravel and sand mining, with the extraction of clay and kaolin.

ANI-KVARTZ LLC has received a permit for mineral mining for 50 years; until 2062. The company exploits the Shahumyan community’s sand and chalk mine in Armenia’s Ararat Province.

Let's also mention that the Shahumyan mayor is the son-in-law of former MP Karo Karapetyan. Karo Karapetyan was a member of the Prosperous Armenia faction, headed by Hovik Abrahamyan's in-law Gagik Tsarukyan.

DLS GROUP LLC (formerly Getn Group CJSC) is also engaged in mining, particularly with sand and gravel mining. The company has extraction permits until 2032. It exploits Getap sand and gravel mine in Armavir province.

DLS GROUP LLC was founded in 2013. Davit Sukiasyan became the sole owner of the company in March 2014.

MVVINING LLC (formerly Vahan-Artyom LLC) is also engaged in sand and gravel extraction. The company exploits the Karajour sand and gravel mine in Armavir Province and has a permit until 2061.

Vahan-Artyom LLC was established in 2008 and operated until 2012, when MVVINING LLC became the legal successor of the company. Davit Sukiasyan has been the sole shareholder of the company since February 2012.

ML MINING LLC is engaged in the same industry. It exploits the Vanina sand mine in Ararat Province, extracting sand and gravel. The company’s permit runs until 2064. Davit Sukiasyan has been the sole proprietor since December 2010.

It should be noted that on June 23, 2017, the Armenian government granted ML MINING LLC a customs exemption for equipment. The company must import two pieces of mining equipment from Bulgaria, worth 75 million drams.

According to the government’s draft decision, the company has already invested 400 million drams, and plans to invest another 100 mln AMD and create at least 15-20 workplaces with an average salary of 180,000 AMD. Production volumes will generate 240 million drams, of which 180 million drams of product will be exported to Eurasian Economic Union countries, and 55 million drams to other countries.

Hetq tried to reach Davit Sukiasyan for clarification on all the above, but nobody answered the phone in his office.

According to the SIS website:

The Special Investigation Service conducts preliminary investigation of criminal cases, related to the complicity of officials of Legislative, Executive and Judicial Power Bodies, persons carrying out state special service, connected with their official positions or with crimes committed by them, as well as electoral processes envisaged by Criminal Procedure Code of the Republic of Armenia.

In other words, the SIS is tasked with investigating government officials and state agencies suspected of criminal activities.

It would seem that the SIS doesn’t have to look far for its next case.