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Cyprus Asked For ‘Help’ In Armenian Fraud Case


Armenia - Cyprus Attorney General Petros Clerides attends a meeting in Yerevan, 1Jul2013.

Armenia - Cyprus Attorney General Petros Clerides attends a meeting in Yerevan, 1Jul2013.

Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian asked his visiting Greek Cypriot counterpart on Tuesday to help Armenian law-enforcement authorities investigate a high-profile fraud case that has sparked corruption allegations against Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian.

The case stems from the alleged misappropriation by Armenian businessman Ashot Sukiasian of millions of dollars invested by another entrepreneur, Paylak Hayrapetian. Sukiasian has been charged with stealing the money through a company registered in Cyprus.

The company, Wlispera Holdings, is formally co-owned by him as well as Sarkisian and a controversial Armenian cleric. Sarkisian claims that it was registered in his name without his knowledge.

Petros Clerides, the Cyprus attorney general, ruled out the possibility of such fraudulent registration when he spoke to RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) during a visit to Yerevan on Monday. Clerides attended a meeting of top prosecutors from European and ex-Soviet states and spoke separately to Hovsepian. The two men held another meeting on Tuesday.

According to Sona Truzian, the spokeswoman for Armenia’s Office of the Prosecutor-General, Hovsepian handed to Clerides written queries related to the case. “We hope that the asnwers to them will be sent to us soon,” Truzian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). She declined to elaborate on the information sought by Armenian prosecutors.

Truzian also said that the prosecutors twice made similar inquiries with their Cypriot colleagues in writing before Clerides’s visit to Armenia. Clerides said on Monday, however, that he is hearing about the case for the first time.
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