YEREVAN — After continued scrutiny and pressure, most recently from the Social Democrat Hunchakian Party – Western USA Executive Committee suspending its membership with the Armenia Fund board on Monday morning, the executive director of the pan-Armenian charity; Hayastan All-Armenian Fund, tendered his resignation on Monday, one week after being accused of embezzling its funds.
Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS) arrested Ara Vartanyan, who has managed the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund for the last ten years, on July 3. It said that he admitted using money mostly donated by the Armenian Diaspora for online gambling and other “personal purposes.”
“In the past week alone, Vartanyan transferred about 14 million drams ($29,000) from a bank card of the fund to online casinos,” read an NSS statement. “That amount totaled about 130 million drams in the period from 2016 to 2018.”
A court in Yerevan agreed to free Vartanyan on bail on July 5. While on bail, Vartanyan maintained his standing as executive director of Hayastan All-Armenian Fund, which was seen by the S.D. Hunchakian party as “not only an act of immorality, but also disrespectful to Armenians everywhere.”
Vartanyan finally submitted a letter of resignation to President Armen Sarkissian late Monday night. Armen Sarkissian as President also serves as the chairman of Hayastan’s Board of Trustees.