27 Aug 2019 15:38

Ex-Armenian finance minister Khachatryan charged with embezzlement, abuse of power

YEREVAN. Aug 27 (Interfax) - Former finance minister and ex-head of the tax and customs services of Armenia Gagik Khachatryan has been charged with massive embezzlement and abuse of power, Armenian National Security Service Chief Artur Vanetsyan told journalists on Tuesday.

"Khachatryan has been charged on two counts, embezzlement of funds on a massive scale and abuse of power. The case involves several dozen million dollars. Searches and checks have been under way since the morning at the premises owned by him or related to him," Vanetsyan said.

"Following this, the investigative department of the National Security Service will determine Khachatryan's status in the case. Charges have also been brought against a relative of Khachatryan, Karen Khachatryan, who used to work at the State Revenue Committee as well," he said.

Vanetsyan said it is likely that the charges will be expanded to other counts.

Gagik Khachatryan worked for many years in the tax and customs bodies. He headed the Armenian State Revenue Committee, which includes the tax and customs services, in 2008-2014, then became finance minister until 2016.

Khachatryan is considered one of the richest people in Armenia. He is a major supplier of chocolate to the country. In particular, he owns the importer of products manufactured by Roshen. Armenian media link his name to the purchase of the Mozart confectionary factory in Salzburg for $200 million. Khachatryan owns several hundred hectares of agricultural land and is the ultimate beneficiary owner of one of the largest telecommunications companies in Armenia, Ucom.