New criminal case launched against brother of ex-President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan
A criminal case has been opened against the brother of the ex-president of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan for alleged abuse of authority during the construction of the North-South interstate highway.
The ex-president’s brother, Lyova Sargsyan, has been announced wanted.
This is not the first criminal case against both this brother and other relatives of the ex-president.
• New government of Armenia to continue construction of North-South highway
The circle of relatives and acquaintances around Serzh Sargsyan came into the focus of law enforcement immediately after the Velvet Revolution of spring 2018.
They have been charged with numerous accusations of fraud, drug trafficking, illegal weapons possession, illegal enrichment and concealment of property.
• Former Armenian President Sargsyan’s entourage under scrutiny of law enforcement agenices
Details of the charge
Lyova Sargsyan has been accused of using his influence on responsible officials in choosing subcontracting organizations and money laundering the money received for these services.
The case concerns the North-South highway project, which is the largest and most expensive transport project of independent Armenia. The part of the road discussed here is expected to cost $250 million./
According to the press service of the Investigative Committee, the selection of subcontracting organizations was carried out along criminal lines.
According to the law, the main contractor was supposed to have chosen the subcontractor. In te case, that meant Spanish organization Corsan Corviam Construction.
In addition, it was necessary to obtain the consent of the program engineer and relevant officials of the project customer, that is, the Ministry of Transport and Communications of Armenia.
However, in fact, it turned out that these processes were led by Lyova Sargsyan.
He acted in collusion with the program’s subcontractor, the Politransport organization, owned by Suren and Gevorg Vardanyan.
The Investigative Committee said in a statement that the ex-president’s brother “demanded from the director of one of the organizations 50% of the profits expected from the work, the receipt of which he organized by laundering.”
Sargsyan and the Vardanyans have been put on the wanted list, and a petition for their arrest submitted to the court.
What is the North South highway?
The North-South highway will better connect the north of the country with the south.
From the north, it will connect Armenia with Georgia and through it will provide access to the Black Sea and EU markets. From the south, the motorway connects the country with Iran.
Thanks to this project, Armenia can become a transit country.
According to the most conservative estimates, the 490-kilometer highway will cost more than two billion dollars.
Construction work began in 2012, but so far only one of the five sites has been commissioned.
The authorities have to find financing to complete the construction, and most likely it will be the money of international lenders.
Since December 2018, construction has been suspended.
According to experts, this project is too costly, and instead say the country should be investing in other strategic programs which will also have a great economic effect.
The fact is that the construction of one kilometer of the North-South road costs $ 3.6 million, and in complex areas the price can rise to $12 million.
However, back in July 2019, the new authorities of Armenia, that is, the post-revolutionary government of Nikola Pashinyan, announced that the construction of the road would continue.
Why else are the relatives of the ex-president accused of
Leva Sargsyan has also been accused of embezzlement on an especially large scale.
In another criminal case, he is charged with concealing data that would expose illegal enrichment.
His daughter Ani Sargsyan is also involved in this case.
Criminal cases were also instituted against another brother of the ex-president – Alexander Sargsyan and his sons.
In July 2019, the court granted the motion submitted by the investigation for the arrest of Ara Minasyan.
This is the father of the son-in-law of the former president, that is, the father-in-law of the daughter of Serzh Sargsyan.