The visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion of Malta Carmelo Abela to Yerevan passed without much publicity, and perhaps the reason is that Malta is not a global political actor, at least in the perception of the Armenian public.
Meanwhile, the visit deserves attention, and within the scope of global developments which are significantly related to Armenia too.
During the visit they spoke about bilateral relations, trade development, Malta’s readiness for visa facilitation, direct flights between Yerevan and Malta.
However, there are issues relating to domestic and external policies, security issues which may have answers in Malta as well.
For example, Malta was related to the Panama papers scandal where the names of the Azerbaijani President Aliyev, his daughter featured, there was information about their relations with the prime minister of Malta in some unlawful deals. The “Armenian hero” of the same scandal was the former head of the Service for Compulsory Execution of Judicial Acts whose offshore accounts were said to be several hundreds of millions of dollars. Poghosyan is currently hiding in Russia, waiting for Moscow’s political decision on his extradition.
After the offshore scandal Mihran Poghosyan resigned from the Service for Compulsory Execution of Judicial Acts, saying that he did not want his name to appear beside Aliyev’s name. Poghosyan resigned but he certainly did not stop being Aliyev’s offshore “neighbor”. In Yerevan his case was dismissed, he even became a member of parliament. After the velvet revolution the investigation of Poghosyan’s case was resumed. However, it is possible that it is conventionally called Poghosyan’s case but in reality it is a systemic case because there is a high probability that Poghosyan merely played the role of the “horns and hoofs” office for a fee.
At least, only in case of a big scope would Russia at least discuss the issue of extraditing and would not assume unnecessary and impertinent load only for Mihran Poghosyan.
Some time after the Panama papers the investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galicia was killed in Malta who had taken part in the investigation of the offshore scandal.
Afterwards the prime minister of Malta Joseph Muscat resigned whose name and connection with the Aliyevs featured in the investigation of this reporter. Muscat is now the prime minister of Malta because his party has won the election and formed government.
Muscat announced that they would do everything to reveal the journalist’s murder. Over this time the murder was in the focus of PACE and a report on the process of investigation was initiated. The report was presented during the PACE session last week. Interestingly, the Maltese minister of foreign affairs and trade promotion visited Armenia on those days.
The report presented to the PACE outlines the possible connection between the murder and the Aliyevs.
On the same day PACE voted to the full restoration of the mandate of the Russian delegation. The most significant issue on the PACE agenda which received most attention was this issue.
In this context, there was the visit of the Maltese minister to Armenia and the visit of the Russian ambassador to the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office and his meeting with Prosecutor General Artur Davtyan, on the day when Robert Kocharyan was remanded in custody.
Prosecutor General Davtyan discussed with the Russian ambassador the issues of illegally obtained wealth in Armenia and the return of assets that flew out of the country.
Apparently, Yerevan has submitted a bill to Moscow which is registered after Poghosyan’s “horns and hoofs” function. By the way, it is possible that the Maltese minister had an essential investment in its drafting. At least, there is a significant aspect in this – Carmelo Abela used to be the minister of interior and security of Malta.
At the same time, the problem is not only the bill. Could Yerevan possess information about the involvement of the Aliyev’s in the murder of the Maltese journalist?
At least, after the “Panama papers” Aliyev stated that it was the consequence of the work of the British special services and the Armenian lobby. It is possible that it was the first part of the consequence for Aliyev.