By Emil Danielyan
A U.S. citizen of Armenian descent has won a court case against Armenian prosecutors whom he accuses of covering up an alleged wholesale embezzlement of his business assets in Yerevan, his lawyer said on Friday.
George Najarian, who has engaged in extensive charitable work in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh for the last 15years, sued the Office of Prosecutor-General for its refusal to press fraud charges against his former local business representative. The man, Grigor Igitian, is the legal owner of a photo shop and two buildings currently constructed in downtown Yerevan.
Najarian insists that in reality the lucrative property belongs to him and that he registered it in Igitian’s name in 1996 because Armenian law at the time did not allow foreigners to own land in the country. He claims to have been defrauded by Igitian, a charge denied by the latter.
The state prosecutors have twice investigated the fraud allegations but stopped short of bringing charges against Igitian, citing a lack of evidence. The Armenian-American, who suspects them of being bribed by his ex-partner, challenged the decisions in a Yerevan court of first instance.
According to Najarian’s attorney, Ashot Poghosian, the court recognized his client as a “victim” and ordered the Prosecutor-General’s Office to resume the fraud inquiry. “We are satisfied with the verdict,” Poghosian told RFE/RL. “We regret that things have gotten thus far and hope that the prosecutor’s office will not appeal.”
In a recent newspaper article, Najarian and his wife Carolann slammed Armenia’s law-enforcement authorities, describing them as “a system wrought with deceit and corruption.”