By Diego Karamanukian in Montevideo
A judge in Argentina has issued an international arrest warrant for Eduardo Eurnekian, an Argentinian tycoon of Armenian descent who runs Armenia’s main international airport.
Reports from Buenos Aires said the move followed Eurnekian’s failure to meet Thursday's official deadline for showing up in court and answering charges of tax evasion. The warrant was issued by Julio Cruciani, the judge investigating the high-profile affair.
The case is having a public resonance in Armenia whose government placed last year Yerevan’s Zvartnots airport under the 30-year management of Eurnekian’s Aeropuertos Argentina 2000 consortium that runs 33 airports across Argentina. The deal provoked protests from the Armenian opposition which accused the authorities of sealing it on highly unfavorable terms.
The Armenian government dismisses the objections, saying that Eurnekian’s group will make substantial investments to bring the airport’s facilities into conformity with international standards. Last April, the government approved the Argentine-Armenian businessman’s eight-year “master plan” for Zvartnots. Officials in Yerevan claimed this month that the case against him will not affect its successful implementation.
Eurnekian is accused of failing to report a number of foreign assets in tax returns filed with the Argentina’s tax authorities. His lawyers deny the charges which, under Argeninian law, carry up to eight years in prison. They said Thursday that they will appeal judge Cruciani’s order at a higher court.
Eurnekian was reported to be in Italy when news of the criminal proceedings launched against him was officially announced earlier this month.