YEREVAN (ARKA) — The government of Armenia has approved today a bill calling for the confiscation of illegally acquired property. Justice Minister Rustam Badasyan said the bill was drafted after exploring the relevant experience of many other countries.

He said confiscation of illegally acquired property is spelled out both in international treaties and related documents. The proposed package of changes enable authorized bodies ( part of the office of prosecutor general) to investigate and ask courts to nationalize those assets that do not correspond to legal incomes of current and former state officials as well as other persons.

Badasyan said investigations may be launched as part of a criminal inquiry that would reveal illegally acquired property. The authorized body will be given maximum a three-year period to investigate the case and submit a file to a court. The confiscation of illegally acquired property could be carried only on the basis of a court verdict, he said.

Badasyan said the bill applies also to property, not owned by the defendant, but used by him/her on the regular basis.

According to the changes, the court may free part of property so that the defendant resolve his/her housing problem and pay for the services of a lawyer.

“At a certain stage, it would be possible to conclude an amicable agreement, however, its subject could not be less than 75% of the cost of the ungrounded property,” the minister said.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has repeatedly advocated a legislation that would allow to confiscate illegally acquired assets as part of his anti-corruption agenda. In his words, from the position of the European Court of Human Rights, such confiscation is a normal practice in the fight against corruption.

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