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More ‘Donations’ To Armenian Officials Revealed


Armenia - Gorik Hakobian, director of the National Security Service, at a cabinet meeting in Yerevan, 6Mar2014.

Armenia - Gorik Hakobian, director of the National Security Service, at a cabinet meeting in Yerevan, 6Mar2014.

Like many other senior state officials and their family members, the heads of Armenia’s main law-enforcement agencies and their wives claim to have received tens of thousands of dollars in aid from sources not disclosed by them.

The scale of these mysterious “donations” is revealed by their asset declarations filed with the state Commission on the Ethics of High-Ranking Officials.

The unemployed wife of Gorik Hakobian, the powerful head of the National Security Service (NSS), last year received 19 million drams ($40,000) worth of various goods and purchased an apartment for the same amount of money. Her officially declared assets rose from $23 million drams (about $48,000) in 2013 to 24.5 million drams (over $50,000) in 2014. She did not elaborate on the source of the increase.

Hakobian himself has considerable possessions, even though his annual salary is less than 10 million drams (about $21,000). In 2014 the official got richer by more than 10 million drams, bringing his financial strength to 38.5 million drams (more than $80,000).

Vladimir Gasparian, the flamboyant chief of the Armenian police, did not increase his declared savings in the course of last year. Besides his annual salary of 7 million drams (about $14,500) he did not declare any other income and, like in 2013, continued to claim to have $2,000 and 2.5 million drams (about $5,200) in cash.

The sum pales in comparison with the savings of Gasparian’s wife reported to the state commission. With an annual salary of 3 million drams (about $6,250), she has somehow managed to save up as much as 30 million drams (about $62,500), $18,000 and 24,000 euros.

The wife of Prosecutor-General Gevorg Kostanian keeps $200,000 in her bank accounts, while officially earning an equivalent of less than $3,500 a year. She claims to have received half of this sum, $100,000, as a donation from an anonymous source in 2011 -- the year when her husband quit his job as presidential aide and head of an anti-corruption body to become Armenia’s chief military prosecutor. Incidentally, the same year Kostanian too got a major “donation” in the amount of 35 million drams (about $73,000).

As of 2014, Kostanian, who is 38 years old and has not worked outside public office, declared a total of 82 million drams ($170,000) in financial assets. His annual salary stands at approximately $20,000.

All this does not include the cars and apartments that Armenian officials, according to their own declarations, purchase and sell during the year.

The head of the Freedom of Information Center of Armenia, Shushan Doydoyan, said that there are sufficient reports in the media about corruption risks for some of the officials to be prosecuted. “Unfortunately, not a single criminal case has been instituted in connection with any corruption risk that has been a subject of public discussion,” she said.

The Transparency International Anticorruption Center also criticized the state commission for its reluctance to look into corruption risks and initiate probes by law-enforcement bodies.

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