Ex-minister Wanted for 14 Million Dollar Bribe


Aram Harutyunyan, the ex-minister of environmental protection, is charged with a major bribe. He received a major bribe then legalized the assets  gained through illegal ways.

Aram Harutyunyan was appointed minister of environmental protection on 8 June 2007 and was at the same time the chair of the interagency tender commission on forming the mining right to land containing minerals of strategic importance. He demanded and received a bribe of 4.2 billion drams (14 million dollars) from S.H., an entrepreneur, to issue 10 special licenses for exploration, later to prolong the term of the licenses, issuances of license for mine production.

As a result, in January-November 2008 the ten special licenses were issued to the companies owned by S.H. In the same period, S.H. drew cash from her bank accounts in the amount of 6 million dollars and passed to Aram Harutyunyan through his close person.

Aram Harutyunyan received the other part of the bribe, about 8 million dollars, through transfers to bank accounts in UAE with the help of his friends. In order to cover up the real source of the money and to launder the amount Aram Harutyunyan transferred the amount gained through criminal ways to the Swiss bank account of an international organization and afterwards organized regular transfers of the money from this bank account to the bank account of a company owned by a close person of his and located in Armenia.

Aram Harutyunyan is wanted. The Special Investigative Service has submitted a motion to the court to remand him in custody.

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