ArmInfo.A criminal case has been initiated in the Investigation Department of the National Security Service (NSS) of Armenia against the former head of the RA State Customs Committee Armen Avetisyan on the fact of illegal participation in business and money laundering on a large scale, acquired by criminal means (money laundering) on the grounds of Article 310 and 1, part 3, Article 190 of the RA Criminal Code.
According to the press service of the National Security Service, according to preliminary data obtained as a result of the operational-search and investigative measures taken, Armen Avetisyan, in 2011, being the chairman of the State Customs Committee, together with the persons who are in business relations with him initiated and financed, mainly in cash, the construction of the Golden Palace hotel complex on Azatutyun Avenue. In order to hide his and the participation of other persons, he attributed the construction of this facility to LLC Riverhil Holding, which was founded in the Cyprus offshore. Thus, as noted, the citizens of the country were misled that the supposedly millions of American dollars spent on the construction of the hotel were foreign investments. Armen Avetisyan, who personally supervised the construction work, using his official position, in some cases contributed to solving various issues related to the process. "It is noteworthy that in order to make the fact of the construction of a hotel by foreign investments more realistic, in 2005, at the official opening ceremony of the hotel complex, the citizen of Lebanon was presented to the public as a foreign investor; a certain period in the same hotel he worked as a director, "- the message of the National Security Service reads.
Later, according to the information, he expanded the business, on behalf of the same organization the Golden Palace Hotel was built in Tsakhkadzor in 2010-2012. Already in 2012, Golden Group Limited, founded in the city of Douglas, United Kingdom, became the owner of the above two hotels. The owner of 100% of the shares of this company was the son of Armen Avetisyan - Artashes Avetisyan. Later, in 2018, Armen Avetisyan and his son founded the third Golden Palace Boutique Hotel on North Avenue. The total market value of all three hotels in 2016 was estimated at approximately 90 million US dollars. "A preliminary investigation is underway. Within the criminal case, large-scale operational-search and urgent investigative measures are being taken to find out the real sources of financing for the construction of hotels, its actual investors and other possible owners," the statement reads.
To note, on October 22, 2002, the then President of the Republic of Armenia Robert Kocharyan signed a decree appointing Armen Avetisyan as Chairman of the State Customs Committee under the Government of Armenia. Prior to that, Avetisyan worked at the National Security Service of the Republic of Armenia. On April 15, 2008, the third President of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan, signed a decree on the release of Avetisyan from the post of Chairman of the State Customs Committee under the Government of Armenia. He was replaced by Deputy Chairman of the State Customs Committee Gagik Khachatryan. Meanwhile, in one of his recent interviews, the second President of Armenia, Robert Kocharyan, referring to the exaggerated talk about the corruption of the officials appointed by him and, in particular, the head of the Customs Service Armen Avetisyan, said: "Well, there is a lot of talk about Armen Avetisyan, and so what? What does he have? One mansion?"