Finance Minister Davit Sargsian on Wednesday dismissed a U.S. anti-graft group’s recent claims that more than $6.2 billion was siphoned out of Armenia in 2002-2011 as a result of government corruption, tax evasion and other illegal activity.
The watchdog called Global Financial Integrity (GFI) cited the figure, worth nearly twice the Armenian foreign debt, in a December report on illicit capital outflows around the world. It claimed that developing countries lost almost $6 trillion in cash as a result.
The GFI report did not specify the source of its information about alleged capital flight from Armenia. It said that cash outflows from the country dramatically increased in 2007, averaging approximately $1 billion annually through 2011.
“I don’t think that that study and those figures reflect the real picture,” Sargsian told a news conference.
The minister said that while some outflows might have happened in that period they could not have been so massive. The Armenian authorities have been combatting tax evasion and money laundering in earnest, he said.
Economists critical of the Armenian government consider the report’s findings credible.