The Investigative Committee of Armenia, General Department of Investigation of Particularly Important Cases reports that new circumstances have been investigated in relation to illegal adoption of children in Armenia.
“As a result of investigatory and other procedural actions of great volume conducted during preliminary investigation, data were obtained that from November 29, 2005 money was transferred from the companies accredited abroad and engaged in transnational adoption, their employees as well as directly from adoption applicants to the person carrying out the functions of the representative of the mentioned companies in the Republic of Armenia. And from June, 2007 the mentioned companies started their activity in the territory of the Republic of Armenia.
Pursuant to data obtained during investigation, in the process of transnational adoptions a criminal group was created and controlled the trafficking and sale of children of RA citizenship. The criminal gang included employees of maternity hospitals operating in Armenia, RA Ministry of Justice, RA Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, orphanages subordinate to it, local government bodies, RA Government and state and other bodies adjacent to it, as well as persons in close relations with the group members doing translations, providing other services in the process of adoptions were involved in the group.
Pursuant to investigation data, in the process of adoption of children by foreign citizens some of the gang members actually carried out functions of a representative of the foreign adoption companies, some of them provided them services for which from 2005 to 2019 more than 1.800.000 Euros and 26.000 USD were paid to their bank accounts through the above-mentioned companies, their employees, as well as directly by those having applied for adoption in the process of adoption of at least 114 children.
It was found out that those carrying out functions of representatives of foreign companies received money for each adoption the amount of which was significantly more than the amount necessary for expenses for child adoption at the RA territory. As a result, those involved in the process received unjustified income.
The RA stte body in charge of control over financial flows and their transparency in the field of adoptions, for years did not take any measures to prevent unjustified financial or other cash flow. I also did not take measures to oversee compliance of adoption practices with the Convention for Foreign Adoptions, thus creating appropriate conditions for the criminal group to take advantage and make money from adoption of Armenian children by foreign citizens.
Investigation data show that the employees of maternity hospitals operating in the RA created conditions for children’s biological parents to give up their children under effects of confusion or threat, the officials of various state and local self-government bodies of the RA were involved in the gang, abusing their official position, contributed to implementation of adoption process without any obstacles in some cases even forging documents and submitting documents with fake data to relevant bodies.
At the same time, data were obtained that the person carrying out functions of the representative of companies accredited abroad and operating in Armenia in the process of children’s adoption by foreign citizens from 2010 to 2019 received more than 1.290.000 Euros on the bank account from the above-mentioned companies as well as directly from those having applied for adoption formulating as expenses necessary in the process of adoption.
Then in order to conceal the criminal origin of the mentioned amount, this person transferred more than 430.000 Euros to several persons for several purposes and more than 402.000 Euros was cashed for personal needs. In the same process, another Armenian citizen in close relations with the mentioned person received more than 55.000 Euros from the above-mentioned Italian organizations which was formulated as expenses necessary in the process of adoption. This second person also deposited money in several amounts to the mentioned account. Then in order to conceal the criminal origin of the mentioned money the above-mentioned person transferred more than 73.000 Euros to another person as well as made personal payments.
As a result, converting and transferring the funds received in the process of transnational adoption this person legalized the assets received in a criminal way laundering the mentioned funds.
A criminal case was initiated in General Department of Investigation of Particularly Important Cases of the RA Investigative Committee on the above-mentioned apparent crimes according to Clause 2 of Part 2 of Article 168 (child’s sale for the purpose of taking up care which was committed against two or more children), Clause 1 of Part 3 of Article 190 (legalizing illegally obtained income (money laundering), committed in particularly large amount), Parts 1, 2 and Clause 1 of Part 3 of he Article 223 (creation of criminal associations or participation in criminal association committed by abusing official position) and a decision was made to combine the mentioned criminal case to the earlier criminal case initiated on disclosing the secret of adoption, impelling birthing parent to consent to adoption, child’s sale for the purpose of taking up care, giving commercial bribe, abusing power by employees of commercial or other organizations, exceeding official powers and to conduct preliminary investigation in one proceeding.
Preliminary investigation is ongoing.“