By Diego Karamanukian in Montevideo
Argentina’s supreme economic court on Tuesday withdrew a lower court’s international arrest warrant for Eduardo Eurnekian, an Argentine tycoon of Armenian descent who runs Armenia’s main international airport, after he agreed to return to the country to face tax evasion charges.
The court in Buenos Aires ordered Eurnekian to post a bail of 14 million pesos ($5 million) -- as much as he is accused of evading in taxes resulting from the 1995 sale of his stake in a local cable television network. The tycoon, whose company runs 33 airports across Argentina, denies the charges.
Last week a judge investigating the affair asked Interpol to arrest Eurnekian, currently in the United States, after he failed to appear in the court. Local observers say the subsequent higher court ruling marked the beginning of a long court battle which might take months and even years.
The withdrawal of the arrest warrant came as a relief to the authorities in Armenia where the case against the Argentine-Armenian billionaire has led to renewed questioning of the wisdom of placing Yerevan’s Zvartnots airport last year under the 30-year management of Eurnekian’s Aeropuertos Argentina 2000 consortium. Government officials have said that the case will not affect his plans for a sweeping reconstruction of Zvartnots’s Soviet-era facilities.