By Astghik Bedevian
A new magazine which claims to be the Armenian version of “Forbes” has no connection with the renowned U.S. business publication and is using its name illegally, a copyright lawyer said on Tuesday.
Eduard Nahapetian said he was hired by the “Forbes” management to help to stop the publication of “Forbes Armenia.” “They have no license or any other authorization to use the name ‘Forbes,’” he told RFE/RL. “‘Forbes’ has asked us to help to stop this abuse.”
Nahapetian claimed that the publisher of “Forbes Armenia,” an obscure Yerevan-based company called Litsa, has admitted to the copyright violation and is now trying to negotiate a licensing deal with the U.S. outlet. “They fully agree with us,” he said.
The “Forbes-Armenia” director, Elizabeth Petrosian, declined to confirm or deny this. But she admitted that the glossy magazine has postponed the release of its second issue. Asked whether it will continue to be published, Petrosian said, “Time will tell.”
The magazine’s first issue came out a month ago and was almost exclusively devoted to Armenian politics, containing, among other things, a purported list of the country’s ten wealthiest individuals. It was topped by government-connected businessman Gagik Tsarukian and included six high-ranking government officials, including President Robert Kocharian and Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian. The latter dismissed the rankings as a fraud, hinting that he believes they were commissioned by Tsarukian.
Incidentally, the magazine was edited by Petros Ghazarian, a talk show host working for a television station controlled by Tsarukian. Ghazarian claimed on Tuesday that he resigned as editor-in-chief last week because the content of its first edition was “unduly politicized” by the Armenian media and politicians. He said he was not forced to quit by the tycoon or anybody else.
Both Ghazarian and Petrosian claimed that they do not know who finances the controversial publication.