The ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) has urged an opposition leader to cite at least one specific example of a business being seized or partly acquired through force after an allegation made by him in a recent interview.
Talking to Zham.am on Thursday, Prosperous Armenia Party head Gagik Tsarukian, in particular, called for putting an end to “the tradition of individuals using their positions to seize a share of another individual’s business”. Tsarukian, who himself is a wealthy businessman, did not name names.
HHK parliamentary faction head Vahram Baghdasarian on Friday categorically denied any such practice in Armenia, calling on those who know concrete cases to report them.
“Once I also followed the press, was cursing [the government] for what is being done, but then I looked into these alleged cases only to find out that there was nothing true in what was said,” he said. “Cite just one example of someone seizing another one’s business… I know nothing about this phenomenon.”
Baghdasarian brought his own example of such allegations. In particular, he referred to media reports alleging that he had to give up a family house in Armenia’s third largest city of Vanadzor to get on the list of HHK candidates at the last parliamentary elections in 2012.
“It is another thing that when a person wants to enter into a large transaction and his financial or human resources are not enough for that… Some people tend to ask other individuals to share the business with them (there have been numerous such cases in my surroundings). And in the press it can be misinterpreted as forced acquisition of part of another person’s business,” the lawmaker explained.
To the observation of RFE/RL’s Armenian Service that Armenian media most frequently give the name of President Serzh Sarkisian’s brother in such cases, the HHK parliamentary leader said: “In that case that I first mentioned, I mean the allegations on my account, they also circulated the name of the president’s brother… I’m telling you that this is all misinformation, these are merely attempts to discredit the president and it is natural that members of his family should be targeted by the press. I am surprised that well-known politicians permit themselves to make such allegations. With the same success we can say the same thing about all wealthy persons, we can accuse them of taking businesses from others.”