Criminal charges brought against senior Armenian cleric

Criminal charges brought against senior Armenian cleric

PanARMENIAN.Net - The National Security Service has charged the vicar of one of the dioceses of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

A statement issued by the NSS provides no specific names but describes the deal involving businessman Paylak Hayrapetyan from the one side and Vicar of the Ararat Patriarchal Diocese, Archbishop Navasard Kchoyan, former Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan, and businessman Ashot Sukiasyan from the other. The story was first reported by Hetq back in 2013. Both the Archbishop and the ex-PM have denied involvement in the deal. As a result, Sukiasyan was sentenced to 16 years in prison for deprivation of property.

According to information provided by the NSS, in summer of 2010 the vicar and godson fraudulently persuaded a businessman to make a $12 million investment in a diamond mine in Africa that allegedly belonged to the godson. The two then acquired ownership rights to real estate belonging to the businessman and his relatives, and used the property to receive credit funds in the amount of almost $10 million. An offshore company established by the criminal group back in 2010 was used to legalize the funds.

After the crimes were uncovered, the cleric persuaded his accomplice, who was wanted by the police, to take full responsibility and falsified or destroyed evidence of his involvement in the affair.

The investigation is still underway.

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