Sedrak Arustamyan, CEO of Multi Group Concern, was detained on April 23 allegedly over charges brought by the National Security Service (NSS). The NSS has not yet released a statement, however his attorney Hovik Sukiasyan clarified to “Radio Liberty” Armenia that the new charges are unrelated to previous charges brought by the Prosecutor’s office over money embezzlement and abuse in “North-South” infrastructure project and illegal construction.
Attorney Hovik Sukiasyan said that the new charges are related to 2011 activities. Sedrakyan, allegedly provided credits to an entity at an interest rate of 4% based on a contract the terms of which have been extended several times up until now. “The charges are over the fact that he did not receive interest payments, nor the principal amount back, and this is interpreted as a bribe,” said the attorney. No other details are mentioned of who the credit was given to, whether the charges are related to former head of the tax authorities Gagik Khachatryan (imprisoned in August 2019 over abuse of power and wasting of large amounts of public money. Arustamyan is to remain in a 2-month pre-trial custody.
Sedrak Arustamyan was charged with two instanceս of crimes in 2019 and 2020. In August 2019, he was charged over money embezzlement and abuse as part of the “North-South” infrastructure project. Back then, the Investigative Committee reported that between 2008 and 2010, Minister of Communications and Transport Gurgen Sargsyan, in collaboration with Arustamyan and others, issued fake invoices in a total amount of 177 mln AMD for services that were never provided. Arustamyan is charged for imitating entrepreneurial activities and evading significant amounts of taxes, as well as money embezzlement.
The second instance of criminal charges is related to illegal construction of a hotel on Abovyan street in Yerevan by Multi Group. These charges were brought in April 2020.