“Haykakan Zhamanak” dismisses Finance Minister Gagik Khachatrian’s claims that “oligarch” Samvel Aleksanian’s monopoly on sugar imports to Armenia is the result of market factors, rather than his privileged treatment by the government. Khachatrian said Aleksanian is able to ward off competition from other potential importers because of the large scale of his sugar deliveries which makes them more cost-effective. The paper argues that if this was indeed the case Aleskanian would have been driven out of the lucrative business by much larger foreign firms.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” criticizes the governor of the Central Bank of Armenia (CBA), Artur Javadian, for his dismissive comments on those Armenians who are now struggling to repay dollar-denominated loans with depreciated Armenian drams. “The problem is that [Armenian] banks simply do not extend dram-denominated loans, allegedly under pressure from the Central Bank,” writes the paper.
“Zhamanak” reports on continuing tax audits of businesses belonging to Gagik Tsarukian, which were ordered by President Serzh Sarkisian in February at the height of his standoff with the tycoon. The paper speculates that the Armenian authorities may be trying to “dismantle Tsarukian’s business empire” even after his decision to stop challenging them and retire from active politics altogether. “It may also be that … they are demanding certain steps from Tsarukian in return for stopping the dismantling,” it says. In that regard, it claims that the authorities may soon need Tsarukian’s logistical and financial assistance in pushing through Sarkisian’s constitutional amendments in a referendum due next year. “Gagik Tsarukian is a resource which the authorities cannot give up considering the existence of these challenges,” concludes “Zhamanak.”
“Hraparak” reports that Justice Minister Hovannes Manukian on Monday refused to say whether a recent shooting attack on Suren Khachatrian’s car was an attempt on the Syunik governor’s life or its imitation. Manukian also assured the paper that he is optimistic that law-enforcement bodies will solve a recent brutal beating of two men in Goris which was widely blamed on Khachatrian’s notorious son Tigran.