YEREVAN — Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS) has charged Sedrak Kocharyan, the son of ex-president Robert Kocharyan, with fraud for evading nearly $2 million in taxes.
In a statement, the NSS said that the criminal case stems from $5.3 million which had been donated to Kocharyan Jr. by an unnamed “third person.” It claimed that he used a complex fraud scheme to illegally avoid paying about 917 million drams ($1.9 million) in income tax which should have been levied from that sum.
The NSS statement added that through one of his companies the ex-president’s son legalized the “revenue obtained by criminal means” by adding it to his $5.7 million bank account. That money was then spent on the purchase of a three-star hotel in downtown Yerevan, it said.
According to the National Security Service, in an attempt to avoid tax obligations arising from that process, Sedrak Kocharyan instructed the director of the aforementioned company, identified as Alexan Vorskanyan, to conclude two fraudulent loan agreements. As a result, $5.3 million were transferred to Sedrak Kocharyan’s personal account as a return on the loan provided.
The director of that company was to pay income tax to the state budget from Kocharyan’s income. However, acting on Sedrak Kocharyan’s order, the director put false data in the consolidated report in order to reduce the amount of income tax payment.
“Subsequently, in order to distort and conceal the real nature and source of criminal income, as well as to legalize it, Sedrak Kocharyan concluded various transactions with companies affiliated with members of his family combining that amount with another sum of $5.682.960 and legalized it through a number of banking transactions and the purchase of the Best Western Congress Hotel,” the NSS said.
The NSS said the director of the above-mentioned company, Alexan Vorskanyan, was charged with evading taxes and duties, or other obligatory payments in especially large amounts. It said Vorskanyan admitted his guilt. It said both men gave written consent not to leave the country.
The NSS stressed that its investigation is not yet over. “Large-scale investigative actions are being taken to ascertain the legality of the acquisition by Sedrak Kocharyan and members of his family of numerous properties and other assets,” it said.
The NSS director, Artur Vanetsian, said in September that his agency is scrutinizing what he described as hundreds of millions of dollars worth of assets belonging to former President Kocharyan and his relatives.
Sedrak Kocharyan rejected the accusations as “fabricated,” saying that they are part of the Armenian authorities’ persecution of his arrested father and broader family.