Chief Compulsory Enforcement Officer of Armenia Mihran Poghosyan submitted his resignation Monday, April 18. Armenian investigative website Hetq.am and other local media published documents apparently showing that Pogosian was linked to three Panama-registered companies -- Sigtem Real Estates, Hopkinten Trading, and Bango Invest. The three Armenians named in the disclosures — justice-system official Mihran Poghosyan and his uncles Grigor and Mikhail Haroutyunyan — have used shell companies set up in Panama to obtain Armenian government contracts, according to HuffingtonPost. That is at the least a conflict of interest for Poghosyan and probably a violation of Armenian law.
More than 11 million documents known as the Panama Papers have been the basis for dozens of news articles around the world detailing shady financial transactions involving officials around the world.
The Panama Papers show that in 2011 Poghosyan owned two Panama-registered shell companies outright: Sigterm Real Estates and Hopkinten Trading. In addition, he was either a full or part owner of another shell company, Bangio Invest.
Like most officials in the former Soviet Union who are caught with their pants down on corruption, Poghosyan has denied doing anything wrong.
“My name was linked to the recent publications on Panama Papers by local and international media outlets,” the Justice Ministry official said.
“I regret that my name is discussed alongside Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev who has actually appropriated billions of dollars.”
“It is unacceptable that any civilizational parallel be drawn between my country and the dictatorial Azerbaijan because of me,” PanArmenian quoted Poghosyan.
Poghosyan has been head of the CES since 2008. Despite his claims that he did not own any businesses, he filed four court suits between 2013 and 2014 to reclaim loan money, Hetq.am said, including a demand for US$ 5.147 million from one citizen.
Poghosyan’s declared revenues in 2015 were around US$ 46,300, plus foreign cash holdings of US$ 200,000 and 12,000 Euros (US$ 13,500). His wife declared no revenue from 2014 and 2015 but did buy a US$ 70,000 Range Rover.