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Diaspora Philanthropists George Najarian Disillusioned With Armenia


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#21 archakhper

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Posted 02 September 2005 - 02:57 PM

QUOTE (shaunt @ Sep 1 2005, 09:06 PM)
The Armenian courts are busy prosecuting looters.



The Armenian courts are busy prosecuting looters? Where'd you get that info? Do you mean the American courts? as in a reference to New Orleans?

#22 Ata Donme

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Posted 09 September 2005 - 01:02 AM

One of my main concerns over Hyastan, in particularly Yerevan, is the sheer volume of rubbish that is lying hither and dither in and around the city, the most noticeable is the plastic bottles etc that people just discard as if they will melt away on their own!

Along with the tons of scrap metel that is lying arounf the city and in peoples gardens, remnants of the Soviet Industrial era,
such resources should be recycled!

Also their is no proper refuse collection, as to what I have seen, in Yerevan.
People just dump their bags of rubbish in any available hole, and again, expect it to dissapear on its own!

My God!
Never mind the valuable plastics, papers and metals going to waste...
Just contemplate the very real threat of an outbreak of plague!

And whoose job is it primarily to see to such basic and vital matters?
The President
! mad.gif

#23 MosJan

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Posted 09 September 2005 - 06:36 PM

Constant Complaint: After more than two years, Najarians case appears no closer to settlement
By Mariam Badalyan
ArmeniaNow reporter

Last week Armenian law enforcement authorities for the third time suspended investigation of embezzlement charges filed by American Armenian philanthropists George and Carolann Najarian.



The suspension followed a court decision of August 16, which rejected the Najarians’ petition to charge Grigor Igityan, a former Yerevan associate of the Boston couple, for embezzlement of their property in Armenia.



Igityan says he’s done nothing wrong
For more than two years, the Najarians have been engaged in a lawsuit against Igityan. The lawsuit stems from events in which, they allege, Igityan embezzled as much as $500,000 while purchasing property on behalf of the Najarians.



Igityan allegedly misappropriated property - two buildings and land in Dzoragiugh Quarter in Central Yerevan and a photo shop on Abovian street. According to an independent evaluation firm, the total value of the two Dzoraghiugh buildings today is about $3 million.



(The Najarians have said that their case is significant not only for themselves, but because it establishes precedent for treatment of other Diaspora investors.)



Twice, investigation into the criminal complaint was suspended, due to “absence of criminal evidence”. But on April 16 the highest court of Armenia assessed a fraud case and recognized George Najarian as the aggrieved party and demanded that the Prosecutor General’s Office reopen its investigation -- which it did, on May 18.



The April court decision was hailed by the Najarians as evidence that Armenia’s legal system can be trusted. Soon after that, however, the Najarians, were disillusioned upon learning that the investigation had been stopped again, on August 30.



“Now, it seems to be an endless process that might last for years and years,” says Najarian attorney Hrayr Ghukasyan. “Under Armenian law criminal inquiry can last an indefinite period. Thus, we understood that the Prosecutor’s office had adopted a different tactic – by means of dragging out the investigation to take it away from public sight. The end of this tactic was obvious – another suspension.”



In an interview with ArmeniaNow this week, Igityan denied having intention of submitting the property to the Najarians or having it promised to someone else.



“I have built the buildings for myself and on money from my own pocket, which I earned as a translator,” Igityan says. “Why should I give it to someone else? I may sell it one day, if someone offers a good price, but not necessarily to the Najarians.”



Igityan says he has documentation and expert assessment proving that all the money he received from George Najarian was passed to the people it was intended for.



“I have documents to prove what I say, whereas the Najarians use testimonies of witnesses,” Igityan says. “See which has the most weight, paper or someone’s word?”



Among his documents is also a paper showing that, as a representative of George Najarian, Igityan sold the building to himself, as a private entity.



Grigor Nazarian, a US-based architect, whom George Najarian invited to manage the construction process says he was unaware of Igityan’s intentions to sell the property to himself.



Eduard, head of construction firm E. Korkotyan and Friends, who was interviewed by prosecutors, says he thought his firm was working for George Najarian, from whom they got their salaries. Igityan, Korkotyan says, introduced himself as George Najarian’s representative.



Not wishing to wait for the prosecutors to indict Igityan, Najarian attorneys filed a complaint in the court asking it to recognize Igityan as the perpetrator of the fraud (recognized by the high court in the April ruling).



The lower court decision on that complaint came out on August 16. Essentially, the court accepted explanations on the Prosecutor General’s behalf, which said it required more time for a better examination of the facts and additional interrogations. The court also ruled (against a Najarian petition) that the Prosecutor General’s Office was not required to allow Najarian attorneys to be present during its interrogation of potential witnesses.



“Our complaint that the court name the accused was unprecedented, but so was the Prosecutor General’s Office’ last decision which ignores the court decision,” Ghukasyan says. “I hope the court takes this into account.”



If the court rules for the Prosecutor General’s Office to re-open the investigation but does not recognize Igityan as the accused, the lawyers fear it may result in an unending investigation process, since under Armenian laws the investigation may last as long as the investigators may deem it necessary.



“We simply want that this case be heard in the court open to the public, and not be decided behind closed doors of the Prosecutor General’s Office,” adds Najarian attorney Ashot Poghosyan.



Meanwhile, the Najarians have vowed to take their complaint to international court if necessary.



“It is very sad for us to inflict any harm on a country and people we love and have been so caring,” Carolann Najarian told ArmeniaNow. “But we see no other way to show people who say it is they who make the laws, that there are ways to hold them responsible for their misdeeds.”

#24 archakhper

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Posted 10 September 2005 - 12:24 PM

QUOTE (Ata Donme @ Sep 9 2005, 12:02 AM)
One of my main concerns over Hyastan, in particularly Yerevan, is the sheer volume of rubbish that is lying hither and dither in and around the city, ...
Never mind the valuable plastics, papers and metals going to waste...
Just contemplate the very real threat of an outbreak of plague!

And whoose job is it primarily to see to such basic and vital matters?
The President
! mad.gif



I totally agree with your evaluation of the situation...but i would also like to add that there are definitely some sort of lucrative opportunities here to take advantage of this waste. Some locals need to step in and instead of waiting for job creation, create a job for themselves. All it would really take is: two guys, a truck, a cheap track of land on the outskirts of the city and you have a scrap metal business, which I'm sure can be marketed to the multitude of construction companies currently operating in Armenia.

But the question still remains in my mind....how does this comment of yours fit into this conversation???

Oh and Shaunt, I'm still waiting for an answer on the looting business.

And Mos Jan, you beat me to it, I was just about to post the same article smile.gif

#25 Arpa

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Posted 10 September 2005 - 01:41 PM

QUOTE (Ata Donme @ Sep 9 2005, 07:02 AM)
One of my main concerns over Hyastan, in particularly Yerevan, is the sheer volume of rubbish that is lying hither and dither in and around the city, the most noticeable is the plastic bottles etc that people just discard as if they will melt away on their own!

Along with the tons of scrap metel that is lying arounf the city and in peoples gardens, remnants of the Soviet Industrial era,
such resources should be recycled!

Also their is no proper refuse collection, as to what I have seen, in Yerevan.
People just dump their bags of rubbish in any available hole, and again, expect it to dissapear on its own!

My God!
Never mind the valuable plastics, papers and metals going to waste...
Just contemplate the very real threat of an outbreak of plague!

And whoose job is it primarily to see to such basic and vital matters?
The President
! mad.gif


YEREVAN TO BE CLEANED

A1+

| 14:31:08 | 05-09-2005 | Social |

Yerevan will be cleaned with the help of a Russian company with
which the Armenian side has signed a contract to get refuse-cleaning
containers. The head of the Construction, reconstruction and communal
economy department of the Yerevan municipality Frunzik Basentsyan
informed about it today.

The residents of the Arabkir community will be the first to get the new
containers. They will arrive in Armenia till the end of September. At
present there are 6000 containers in Yerevan. According to Basentsyan,
450 tons of house refuse is taken out of Yerevan. The process is
carries out by 12 organizations with 270 cars.

By the way, the workers of the organizations are paid only for moving
the house refuse. As for the technical dumps, the citizens must pay
separately for their cleaning.

Mr. Basensyan was surprised to learn that very often refuse cars
are driven without a cover violating the sanitary norms. "I have
never heard of it. If there are such cases, those responsible must
be punished for it".


#26 Emil

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Posted 10 September 2005 - 02:16 PM

QUOTE (Ata Donme @ Sep 9 2005, 12:02 AM)
One of my main concerns over Hyastan, in particularly Yerevan, is the sheer volume of rubbish that is lying hither and dither in and around the city, the most noticeable is the plastic bottles etc that people just discard as if they will melt away on their own!

Along with the tons of scrap metel that is lying arounf the city and in peoples gardens, remnants of the Soviet Industrial era,
such resources should be recycled!

Also their is no proper refuse collection, as to what I have seen, in Yerevan.
People just dump their bags of rubbish in any available hole, and again, expect it to dissapear on its own!

My God!
Never mind the valuable plastics, papers and metals going to waste...
Just contemplate the very real threat of an outbreak of plague!

And whoose job is it primarily to see to such basic and vital matters?
The President
! mad.gif


I agree, there is what seems like to be tons of plastic bottles everywhere you look. I won't even begin to mention the cigarette butts. mad.gif When I visited Khor Virap I saw literally thousands of bottles of "Noy" water bottles on the mountain that the church sits on. It was awful to see that.

#27 MosJan

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Posted 11 November 2005 - 01:37 PM

Déjà vu Justice:
Prosecutor General ordered to reopen Najarian investigation – again
By Mariam Badalyan
ArmeniaNow reporter
In what has become a serve and volley game between Armenia’s court and its Prosecutor General’s Office, the case of Boston philanthropist George Najarian vs. Yerevan businessman Grigor Igityan has again been sent back to the Prosecutor General for further investigation.

The case is more than two years old. Monday’s decision is the second time the PG office has been ordered by the court to investigate the matter further and bring criminal charges of embezzlement of Najarian property.

(Click here for related ArmeniaNow reports.)

On August 30, the Prosecutor General suspended its pursuit of the case, although Armenia’s highest court had ruled (in April) that the investigation should continue. The PG has maintained that the dispute is a civil matter, arising from material claims Igityan and Najarian made against each other.

Najarian attorney Hrayr Ghukasyan said that the Prosecutor General’s Office “substantiate their decisions by facts or testimonies which have been rejected by the court”.

It would appear that the lower court has agreed with Ghukasyan, and further ruled that the PG ignored the high court order. In particular, the court mentions that the PG office did not analyze why Igityan took measures to register himself as the sole owner of the disputed property, although it had been proved that he was in a business relationship with Najarian.

Ghukasyan says he expects the Prosecutor General to again appeal the court decision – probably on November 21, the last day allowed.

#28 MosJan

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 04:55 AM

Prosecutor General's Office Refuses to Comply with Court Decisions

[February 6, 2006]

Sources within the Prosecutor General's Office of the Republic of Armenia have told us that the investigators in the case of US philanthropists George and Carolann Najarian were recently rewarded for achievements by their superiors. But investigators Armen Nadirian and Artashes Basentsian got their rewards for dismissing the criminal case. It has been two years now since the Najarians' property, worth more than three million US dollars according to experts, was fraudulently appropriated, and Grigor Igityan, the person committing the fraud as per the criminal case, has yet to be punished (See also: The Najarians are Stuck between the Courts and Prosecutor General's Office).

In January 25, 2006 the Republic of Armenia Court of Appeals On Criminal and Military Cases handed down one more decision to bring Grigor Igityan to justice. Igityan, while acting as a translator and representative for the Najarians, fraudulently appropriated the two three-story buildings the Najarians built in the Dzoragyough Ethnographic District and a fully equipped photo shop on Abovyan Street in central Yerevan. For more than two years the case has gone back and forth between the courts and the Prosecutor General's Office.

"Since October 2004, when the Najarians submitted this example of fraud by textbook case to the officials at the investigation department of the Republic of Armenia Prosecutor General's Office, the officials, usurping judiciary functions in effect, keep illegally dismissing the case and appealing any decision handed down by courts in termination of their illegal dismissals," said Hrayr Ghoukassian, the Najarians' lawyer.

Five decisions involving thirteen judges handed down by five Armenian courts of different levels, including the Court of Cassation, the highest court, through public and well attended court hearings have unconditionally confirmed that the Najarians' property was fraudulently appropriated, that the Najarians were the victims of a crime committed against them, and that Grigor Igityan must be brought to justice. The desperate efforts by the Prosecutor General's Office to protect Igityan and help him escape justice make this criminally sophisticated mission by the officials even more obvious. In the space of less than a year and a half, the Armenian courts rejected decisions and appeals by the Prosecutor General Office to dismiss the criminal case against Igityan five times. Yet Prosecutor General's Office officials keep staunchly refusing to comply with the decisions of the courts, in breach of all Armenian laws and the country's international treaty obligations.

Back in December 9, 2004, the Court of First Instance of the Kentron and Nork - Marash Districts of Yerevan, after hearing the appeal by Najarians' representatives against the Prosecutor General's Office investigator Armen Nadirian's decision to dismiss the criminal case against Igityan, handed down the first decision to overturn the investigator's dismissal of the case, the decision stating that ". there is enough evidence and support for instigating criminal proceedings against Grigor Igityan for committing large scale fraud against George Najarian, and also for other crimes committed," and ". at the time of instigating criminal proceedings the aggrieved person, George Najarian, was known, yet he was not recognized as such [by the investigators]."

Andranik Mirzoyan, who is head of the Prosecutor General's Office Investigation Department and thus the person responsible for the work of the investigators, instead of looking into its essence, drawing conclusions and taking appropriate steps to comply with the court decision, simply appealed the First Instance Court decision to the higher court, on the same grounds that had been originally raised by his investigators and already rejected by the lower court.

In March 10, 2005, the Republic of Armenia Court of Appeals on Criminal and Military Cases rejected Mr. Mirzoyan's appeal, and the decision stated the following: "By not recognizing George Najarian as an aggrieved party the investigation committed a serious breach of criminal law, as a result of which George Najarian was deprived of and limited regarding his rights provided by the law, and the comprehensive, full and just investigation of the case was hindered, preventing the correct decision from being made in the case. While recommencing the investigation of the case the investigation should involve George Najarian as an aggrieved party and . come to an appropriate conclusion. Based on the principle of due process stated in Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Basic Freedoms, and the principles of Armenian Criminal Procedure Code, the Court of Appeals hereby rejects the appeal of the prosecutor, on the grounds that the appeal is baseless."

Again, the Prosecutor General's Office appealed this decision of the second court. Later, on April 22, 2005, the Republic of Armenia Court of Cassation (Highest Court) again denied the Prosecutor General's Office appeal to overturn the decisions of the two courts. In confirmation of the previous court decisions, the Court of Cassation provided that ". the investigation failed to take all measures provided by the Criminal Code, to secure the comprehensive, full and just investigation of the case, thus, . the conclusions made by the courts on implementing a detailed investigation of this case are substantiated and reasoned, and thus, the prosecutor's appeal is denied."

In this way, the decisions of the two courts were confirmed by the decision of the Highest Court, confirming the fact that the crime was committed, the philanthropists suffered, and the Prosecutor General's Office shall bring the criminal to justice and return the property. Shortly thereafter, however, it became even more obvious that the Prosecutor General's Office had no intention of abiding by the courts' decisions.

Instead, the same investigators, whose unlawful decisions had already been overturned by all three levels of Armenia's judiciary, and whose conduct should at least have raised questions on the part of their superiors, called the witnesses who had given incriminating testimonies against Igityan and openly threatened them demanding that they change their testimonies. The witnesses, however, insisted on their previously provided testimonies. Then, the investigators invited the Najarians' representatives for interrogation, which is absolutely prohibited by the law. After all this, on August 30, 2005, the investigators issued a new decision to dismiss the case against Igityan, on the same grounds which had already been rejected by all three levels of Armenian courts.

On October 7, 2005 the Court of First Instance of the Kentron and Nork - Marash Districts of Yerevan, hearing the appeal of the Najarians' representatives, again overturned investigator Armen Nadirian's decision to dismiss the case against Igityan, the court decision providing the following: "Instead of evaluating the evidences of the case, the investigation dismissed the case on the grounds that the case is a civil dispute," whereas , according to the court decision, "no civil dispute may be claimed under the law between business parties when the abuse of trust by a party caused the a breach of the law."

The Prosecutor General's Office appealed this as well, the fourth decision on the case by the Armenian courts, and later, on January 25, 2006, the Republic of Armenia Court of Appeals on Criminal and Military Cases handed down another decision denying the appeal of the Prosecutor General's Office. According the this decision, the Prosecutor General's Office ". failed to comply under the decisions of the Republic of Armenia Court of Appeals on Criminal and Military Cases, and the Republic of Armenia Court of Cassation, and eventually, contradicting itself, decided to dismiss the criminal case #61201004 on the grounds of absence of corpus delicti of fraud in G. Igityan's actions. If indeed the investigation believes there was no corpus delicti of fraud in G. Igityan's actions, then who else caused property damages through criminal act to G. Najarian, and the investigation failed to identify and punish such person while dismissing the criminal case."

It is clear from the text of this decision that the judges have grown tire of the outrageous conduct by the Prosecutor General's Office, apparently caused by impunity. To confirm this, the court decision stated the following: "It is indisputable that US citizen George Najarian is a victim of a crime, that direct property damage was caused to him in the result of a criminal act, such facts having been admitted by all three levels of courts of the Republic of Armenia, and by the investigation as well. All that is left to be done is to identify the person who committed the crime and bring that person to justice."

Refusal to comply with a court decision is a crime and is punishable by law. Why are the investigators protecting a criminal at any cost and so openly, and why haven the courts' decision been implemented? These questions can be answered only by Prosecutor General Aghvan Hovsepyan.

Edik Baghdasaryan

#29 MosJan

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 04:56 AM

any other news on NAjaryans Case ???

#30 Boghos

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 02:14 PM

[October 16, 2006]

In August 2003, US citizen George Najarian appealed to the president, prosecutor general, and foreign minister of Armenia informing them that Armenian citizen Grigor Igityan had deceitfully taken possession of plots of land with buildings and a photo shop he owned in Yerevan.

On the basis of these appeals, a criminal case was launched by the Yerevan Prosecutor's Office. The case was then transferred to the Office of the Prosecutor General and subsequently closed. Lawyers representing George and Carolann Najarian appealed the decision by the investigator to close the case.

In 2005 the Office of the Prosecutor General reopened the case, only to close it once more. Thus, courts decided to reinvestigate the case two times, and both times the prosecutor's office closed the case, demonstrating that it is not obliged to abide by court decisions.

For three years the Najarians' case has been circulating among various courts and the Office of the Prosecutor General of Armenia. Certain US senators and congressmen have followed the case and sent letters to Armenian authorities.

Finally, last September the Prosecutor's Office brought charges of swindling against Grigor Igityan in accordance with Article 178 of the Criminal Code of Armenia.

“We are concerned that though Igityan is charged with a serious crime he has not been arrested, which would prevent him from escaping from justice or from openly trying to hinder the investigation, especially in a situation in which the investigators are aware of numerous such attempts made by Igityan before,” said Hrair Ghukasyan, a lawyer for the Najarians. Ghukasyan does not rule out that Igityan might escape from the country.

Our source in the Prosecutor's Office informed us that Grigor Igityan's passport has been confiscated and he is unable to leave Armenia.

Now the case has been assigned to another investigator in the Office of the Prosecutor General and the former investigator, A. Nadiryan, has found himself in rather difficult situation. After all, he may have had his reasons for closing the case so many times and acting in court as though he was Igityan's lawyer. The new investigator in the case, Hovsep Sargsyan, has not done much new investigative work, since everything had already been ascertained.

This case has also introduced some unique examples of the working methods of the Prosecutor's Office: joint actions by the accused and employees of the prosecutor's office, pro-forma discussions during staff meetings at the office of the prosecutor general, and several contradictory decisions by the Prosecutor's Office.

Hetq Online has repeatedly addressed this issue, presenting evidence that suggests that government officials supported Igityan in his illegal dealings. During this period of time Grigor Igityan sold one of the buildings erected at the Najarians' expense and now he will have to compensate the buyer/government official for his losses.

According to our information, President Robert Kocharyan is personally following the proceedings in this case.

#31 rostom

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 09:55 AM

Radical Breakthrough in the Najarian Case

[October 16, 2006]

In August 2003, US citizen George Najarian appealed to the president, prosecutor general, and foreign minister of Armenia informing them that Armenian citizen Grigor Igityan had deceitfully taken possession of plots of land with buildings and a photo shop he owned in Yerevan.

On the basis of these appeals, a criminal case was launched by the Yerevan Prosecutor's Office. The case was then transferred to the Office of the Prosecutor General and subsequently closed. Lawyers representing George and Carolann Najarian appealed the decision by the investigator to close the case.

In 2005 the Office of the Prosecutor General reopened the case, only to close it once more. Thus, courts decided to reinvestigate the case two times, and both times the prosecutor's office closed the case, demonstrating that it is not obliged to abide by court decisions.

For three years the Najarians' case has been circulating among various courts and the Office of the Prosecutor General of Armenia. Certain US senators and congressmen have followed the case and sent letters to Armenian authorities.

Finally, last September the Prosecutor's Office brought charges of swindling against Grigor Igityan in accordance with Article 178 of the Criminal Code of Armenia.

“We are concerned that though Igityan is charged with a serious crime he has not been arrested, which would prevent him from escaping from justice or from openly trying to hinder the investigation, especially in a situation in which the investigators are aware of numerous such attempts made by Igityan before,” said Hrair Ghukasyan, a lawyer for the Najarians. Ghukasyan does not rule out that Igityan might escape from the country.

Our source in the Prosecutor's Office informed us that Grigor Igityan's passport has been confiscated and he is unable to leave Armenia.

Now the case has been assigned to another investigator in the Office of the Prosecutor General and the former investigator, A. Nadiryan, has found himself in rather difficult situation. After all, he may have had his reasons for closing the case so many times and acting in court as though he was Igityan's lawyer. The new investigator in the case, Hovsep Sargsyan, has not done much new investigative work, since everything had already been ascertained.

This case has also introduced some unique examples of the working methods of the Prosecutor's Office: joint actions by the accused and employees of the prosecutor's office, pro-forma discussions during staff meetings at the office of the prosecutor general, and several contradictory decisions by the Prosecutor's Office.

Hetq Online has repeatedly addressed this issue, presenting evidence that suggests that government officials supported Igityan in his illegal dealings. During this period of time Grigor Igityan sold one of the buildings erected at the Najarians' expense and now he will have to compensate the buyer/government official for his losses.

According to our information, President Robert Kocharyan is personally following the proceedings in this case.

Edik Baghdasaryan

#32 MosJan

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 11:04 AM

Najarians are back in court - looks like it might have a good outcome for Najarians - but who knows haw long will this take

#33 Takoush

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 03:37 PM

QUOTE(gamavor @ Mar 8 2005, 10:34 PM) View Post

All the reports about Armenia being free economically and (recently rated the freest in that part of the World) market oriented are just B/S. Add to that totally disinterested state bureaucracy and the inertia from the Soviet times…

The Government Mafia is very strong and no substantial business venture can be implemented without Mafia approval. On paper indeed Armenian Law on foreign investments is the most liberal ever piece of legislation drafted, however in practice everything is very, very different.

Corruption is present everywhere, but in Armenia is just out of any (usually 4% smile.gif) reasonable proportion.

That is the most deterring factor for Diaspora Armenians to invest in the country.
If Armenian politicians were real patriots Armenia could have become Swiss in matter of 5 years with all the potential and resources of the Diaspora.

Sad.

You can blame it on the 75 years of the decadence of the soviet regime that has influenced and sipped in to our fellowmen's layers and stratums and decayed our people to the state and the condition that they are in today. Unfortunately we don't know how long it'll take a small nation such as ours to come out of this situation of the decline of the morals state that they're in now - perhaps in 10-20 years or perhaps never.

Unless our intelligencia from Diaspora can come up with a highly moral President and his own entourage and replace them of today's Republic's government; perhaps then Armenia can slowly come out of their decaying state to become the better government and country as the Swiss nation is.




#34 MosJan

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Posted 20 April 2007 - 02:06 AM

Interrogation of Witness Was Not Finished: the Trial Is Continuously Being Postponed

[April 16, 2007]

Grigor Igitian was charged with misappropriation of American-Armenian philanthropist George Najarian's property. The interrupted trial chaired by Zhora Vardanian resumed on April 2 in the court of first instance of Kentron - Center- and Nork-Marash districts. (See: The Najarian Case Goes To Court Again).

Witness Eduard Korkotian, Director of Liedro LLC implementing construction works, was interrogated for four hours during the court hearing. He said that in 2002, following Igitian's proposal, he started the construction of the incomplete buildings #4 and #11/12 located at Dzoragyugh ethnographic block of Yerevan. At the same time, Korkotian corrected the mistakes commited by previous constructors. After a while, George Najarian came from the US to Yerevan and expressed a wish to add one more storey to the aforementioned two-storeyed buildings. The American-Armenian philanthropist was displeased not only with the quality of work implemented by previous constructors, but also with incurred huge expenses.

”Najarian told Igitian: “I will hire an architect, do not deal with these issues any longer,” witness Korkotian told the court.

Shortly after this, architect Grigor Nazarian came from the US to Armenia and the control over the construction works and financing was implemented through him from that point on.

The witness noted in the court that he received around $42,000 from Igitian for the implemented works. However, as per Igitian's demand, he put his signature on a receipt for $80,950 for submitting a report to Najarian.

“I was without my glasses. I couldn't check what is written in Igitian's notes. I signed it trusting him. And then I went home and checked my notes and found out that the sum mentioned in the receipt was twice as much as the incurred expenses. I immediately called Igitian for clarifications. He said that the document did not have consequences and would not play any role. Later, during the preliminary investigation, I found out that Igitian used that receipt,” Korkotian said.

The witness told during the preliminary investigation that he received $36,450 from Igitian, which contradicted his testimony in the court. Answering the questions concerning this, Korkotian stated for several times: “I had documents in my hand during the preliminary investigation and, according to data provided in them, I gave answers to questions. Now, these documents are absent and I mention the numbers approximately,” he explained.

“The witness is giving evidently false testimony,” stated defendant's attorney Kromvel Grigorian adding that the criminal case initiated against his client is fabricated.

The comment of judge Vardanian followed immediately: “You have no right to give legal assesstments to the testimony of the witness and the evidence in the case.”

Korkotian stated in the court that, as far as he knew, the two buildings belong to Najarian and it was Najarian who financed the construction works. The witness also recalled that, during a conversation, Igitian said that Najarian made a promise to provide a part of the second floor of the building #11/12 to him.

The judge revoked several questions of Kromvel Grigorian addressed to the witness. Some of them were of repetitive nature and some of them, according to Vardanian, had no relation to the charges.

During the interrogation of Korkotian, the defendant's attorney also referred to the issues concerning the activity of the limited liability company headed by the witness and noted that the witness avoided paying taxes. Grigorian said that they will undertake a process of initiating a criminal case with respect to this.

The judge once again rebuked attorney Grigorian, noting that he is intimidating the witness and trying to exert pressure on him.

“All these issues were discussed during the preliminary investigation and there was no such an assessment, since the issues presented by the defender do not meet the reality. They just want to exert influence and pressure on the witness by this to gain a testimony advantageous for them,” said Najarian's lawyer Hrayr Ghoukassian during a conversation with us after the court hearing, adding: “I would describe the interrogation by the defender as a farce. This has always been their policy pursued for already 2-3 years aimed at delaying the adjudication of the case.”

And the trial has again been interrupted by a petition of the defendant's attorney. Although Grigorian noted that he has many questions to the witness, but he asked the judge to postpone the trial. The interrogation of the witness should have continued on April 5, but the hearing did not take place that day and again due to the initiative of the defender. The court hearing postponded till April 10.

During the April 10 court hearing, as per the questions of the defendant's attorney and permission of the judge, witness Korkotian examined the document involved in the criminal case, in which the amount he received for the construction works was provided. The witness noted: “I received the amount, in front of which there were English letters GN in brackets (i.e. Grigor Nazaryan, the architect hired by George Nazarian), from Grigor Nazarian, and I received the amounts, where there was no GN , from Grigor Igitian.”

After the clarifications by the witness, the defendant's attorney asked: “This document substantiates that you received all the amounts provided in it from Grigor Igitian. What would you say with respect to this?”

The judge revoked the question. “The witness has clearly answered from whom he received these sums,” Vardanian explained.

This was not the only question of the defendant's attorney, which was revoked by the court. During the court sitting, Kromvel Grigorian even deserved the following assessment of the judge: “You are a provoker in the true sense of the word. I cannot find another precise word.”

After it, the defendant's attorney submitted to the court, according to him, “the original copy of the document serving as a basis for the receipt of $80,950 which proves that the witness received the mentioned amount from Igitian. The copy of this document exists in the case and this is the original copy, where the letters GN are absent and it is written by the witness.” Grigorian asked the witness to answer whether he made the aforementioned notes or not.

Korkotian, first, said that all the notes in that document were made by Igitian, and then, having examined the document, stated: “There are erased parts in the document submitted by the defendant's side––the letters GN have been erased.”

“OK, we will submit a request for an expertise,” lawyer Grigorian objected, however he has not submitted such a request.

Igitian also obtained the opportunity to question the witness. However, most of his questions were already asked. Thus, the judge revoked them and noted: “Don't waist our time.”

In his turn, Vardanian found out from Korkotian that the initiative of adding third storey to the buildings #4 and #11/12 of Dzoragyugh belonged to George Najarian and the construction was implemented as per his instructions.

The judge asked: “Were there any objections, resentment from Igitian concerning whether why his buildings were being destructed?”

“No,” said the witness adding: “These buildings were being constructed by financing from Najarian. And let the court decide their ownership.”

The court hearing restarted on April 13, during which the testimony of witness Korkotian during the preliminary investigation was published and the sitting was again interrupted––this time at the initiative of the court.

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#35 MosJan

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Posted 12 June 2007 - 01:30 AM

The Trial Is Continuing

June 11, 2007

Grigor Igitian is accused of misappropriation of American-Armenian benefactor George Najarian's property. The hearings of the case are taking place in the court of first instance of Kentron Center and Nork-Marash districts, and the trial has been continuing since March.

After the interrogation of witness Eduard Korkotian, Gurgen Melikian, the Dean of the Faculty of Oriental Studies of Yerevan State University testified in court. Later, representative/lawyer of the injured party petitioned the court to change the procedure of investigation of evidence and to invite architect Grigor Nazarian as a witness during the next judicial session. The latter is a US citizen and he was in Yerevan during the time in question. Although the defendant's attorney protested, the court granted the petition, “taking into consideration the fact that the bodies of preliminary investigation have not managed to interrogate G. Nazarian. Meanwhile, he was directly related to the construction of the buildings and spent on relevant expenditures.”

Nazarian's interrogation began on May 18. As with two previous witnesses, some of the questions addressed to Nazarian by the defendant's attorney were of an accusing nature. Judge Zhora Vardanian rebuked these questions, qualifying/describing them as “a measure for exerting pressure on the witness and for gaining advantageous testimony.” During this period, Vardanian rebuked a few dozen of the attorney's questions addressed to witnesses on grounds that they were of repetitive nature and were not relevant to the accusation. Moreover, such questions were voiced, which were described by the judge as “ones of unserious level.”

Nevertheless, we would like to note that at the beginning of his interrogation, Nazarian informed the court of his intention to leave Armenia in two weeks. Taking into consideration this fact, Vardanian appointed the next hearings on May 23 and May 24. However, the May 23 hearing did not take place, due to the absence of Kromvel Grigorian, the defendant's attorney.

With respect to this, during the May 24 hearing, Najarian's lawyer Hrayr Ghoukassian stated: “Judicial sittings have been numerously postponed, due to various half-reasonable and, sometimes, absurd reasons, at the initiative of K. Grigorian, such as participation in an interrogation in another case, a week-long absence from Armenia, participation in a seminar in Tsakhkadzor, “high temperature” of the defendant present during the courtroom session, etc.

Due to such actions of the defense, only two witnesses have so far been interrogated during the trial, which has lasted for about 2.5 month. This evidently indicates the unhidden intention of the defendant and his attorney to artificially delay the trial and turn it into “an eternal one.” I think that such behavior is rather conditioned by the phenomenon that, not being arrested, the defendant is abusing the humanitarian attitude of the court towards him, although there have always been more than enough grounds in the criminal case for his arrest.”

Taking this into consideration, Hrayr Ghoukassian asked the court to “immediately take measures for preventing the irresponsible and destructive actions of the defense, as well as for securing the normal process and appropriate resolution of the criminal case's investigation.”
Four baseless challenges during one judicial sitting

The trial restarted on June 1. Hrayr Ghoukassian informed the court that Nazarian left Armenia for the US and submitted a copy of his airplane ticket.

He also said that victim George Najarian arrived in Yerevan from the US and petitioned the court to start the latter's interrogation.

The court granted the petition.

First, Kromvel Grigorian, the defendant's attorney, questioned the authenticity of the ticket's copy and petitioned the adoption of a decision to bring Nazarian to court, since his interrogation had not been finished. Otherwise, according to the attorney, “G. Nazarian's testimony can not be used as a basis of the accusation.”

The Judge rejected this petition, saying that “G. Nazarian, being the citizen of another country, had no any obligation to stay in Yerevan for an extended period of time; he was already interrogated during two judicial sittings, while the defendant's attorney addressed questions to him during a whole working day. Thus, the court may come to a relevant conclusion, by comparing the evidence present in the case.”

Attorney K. Grigorian also protested against the court's decision to change the procedure for investigation of evidence and the interrogation of the victim, qualifying it as the judge's capricious behavior. The defendant's attorney voiced the challenge to chairing judge Zhora Vardanian.

The court rejected the challenge, noting in the decision that the change was made only taking into consideration the interests of the case and with the aim to conclude the trial in a reasonably amount of time.

“The court also took into consideration the fact that both Nazarian and Najarian are US citizens, where they reside permanently, and that they are in Armenia only due to circumstances and cannot stay in Armenia until the conclusion of the trial,” Zhora Vardanian stated.

The defendant's attorney expressed his objection also against this decision, but his protest was again rejected.

George Najarian spoke in English. To provide interpretation Artashes Emin submitted to the court a copy of the Private Entrepreneur's certificate of state registration certifying his interpreter's activity, as well as the list of members of the International Union of Simultaneous Translations, in which his name was also included.

This time, Kromvel Grigorian voiced a challenge to the interpreter, since the latter, according to the attorney, did not submit a document certifying his qualification, issued by the Ministry of Justice.

The challenge was rejected and the interrogation of the victim began. As soon as George Najarian said that he will leave Armenia on June 5 and that does know when he will return, the defendant's attorney again submitted a petition: “I know that after the prosecution's questions they will show us a copy of a ticket, indicating that the victim is no longer in Armenia, as was the case with G. Nazarian. We have summoned witnesses. We will refer to the victim's interrogation after the summons' completion.”

“The court decided to reject attorney Grigorian's petition, to start the victim's interrogation the same day and continue it on June 4, under which conditions the defendant's attorney will have the opportunity to find out from the victim the answers to questions presenting interest to him. The court cannot foresee in advance that the interrogation is not completed on June 4,” Vardanian said and added that it will possible to determine the further course of actions only after the interrogation's completion.

The defendant's attorney again voiced a challenge to the chairing judge, explaining it as follows: “At this moment, the defense has 12 pages of questions. And, naturally, we will not manage to address them to the victim, since 3 judicial sittings will be required. The chairing judge is trying to deprive us of the right to interrogate the victim, like in the case with Nazarian. In other words, instead of protecting the interest of law, he is supporting the prosecution.”

Later, Grigorian voiced challenge to the chairing judge for the third time.

“The grounds for the challenge have not changed anyhow. It becomes evident that the defense intends to delay the trial in such way,” the judge noted and decided not to refer to the challenge.

At last, Najarian's interrogation continued. When came the turn of the defense to ask questions, the defendant's attorney asked for time to prepare for the interrogation. The court granted the petition and the judicial sitting restarted on June 4. During this sitting, the defense asked questions to George Najarian for around seven hours. And, the latter also got his portion of Grigorian's judgment. Specifically, the attorney questioned the reliability of the victim's testimony. The judge immediately rebuked him, noting that the right to judgment is provided only to the court.

The next sitting of the trial will take place on June 12.

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 10:48 AM

George Najarian’s Lawyer Motions the Court to Detain the Accused

Ararat Davtyan June 16, 2008


The latest news emanating from the on-going Najarian court case in Armenia is that Grigor Igityan has been charged with using fraud to swindle George and Carolann Najarian, American-Armenian benefactors, out of their property. For the past three years, the time that the trial has been dragging on, the court had constantly refused to bring such charges against the defendant in the case. The Najarians had been waging an uphill battle with the courts during the entire period.


Despite the fact that the court has finally leveled official charges, the entire matter is still caught in legal merry-go-round of sorts. Judge Zhora Vardanyan has been presiding over the trial in the Yerevan Kentron and Nork-Marash Court of First Instance since March 2007.

At the trial session that took place on May 24, 2007, the Najarians’ legal counsel, Hrayr Ghoukasyan, asked the court to “immediately take measures for preventing the irresponsible and destructive actions of the defense, as well as for securing the normal process and appropriate resolution of the criminal case's investigation.”


At the time Mr. Ghoukasyan stated that “…only two witnesses have so far been interrogated during the trial, which has lasted for about 2.5 month. This evidently indicates the unhidden intention of the defendant and his attorney to artificially delay the trial and turn it into “an eternal one.” (See: The Trial is Coming).

More than a year has since passed. In essence the major portion of the trial proceedings has been completed and the time has now come for closing statements and speeches, after which the judge will hand down his decision. However, since May 6th of this year, the court sessions have been consecutively postponed.

“Kromvel Grigoryan, the defense attorney for the accused, has systematically been absent from trial sessions. The main reasons he gives is that he tied up with other court sessions or interrogating witnesses on the stand on those same dates and times; something which is difficult to verify” says attorney Ghoukasyan. He describes such behavior as mocking the court system and is thus calling for Armenia’s Chamber of Advocates to investigate the actions of Mr. K. Grigoryan.

Attorney H. Ghoukasyan is convinced that, “All the evidence presented up till now has gone against the accused and the defense realizes that official charges cannot be avoided. This charade is their last cry to delay a verdict in the case.”

Mr. Igityan is looking at a possible jail sentence ranging from 4 to 8 years if found guilty of the charge of illegally appropriating property. Given the conduct of his lawyer the judge can “demand” that Igityan hire new counsel. It appears that this is exactly what the defense is striving for given that a new attorney can request additional time for adequate preparation, recalling witnesses and a host of other delaying tactics. In this way the entire matter can easily devolve into the “eternal trial” that Ghoukasyan had predicted.

“The judge must take into account the complexities of the case and the time already exhausted when making a decision regarding a change in defense counsel. The trial has been dragging on for over a year already while all that’s needed at this stage is for the defense to make its one hour closing statement for the entire matter to be wrapped up. Thus any change at this stage wouldn’t be propitious from the court’s perspective.” states Attorney Ghoukasyan. He believes that Igityan’s defense attorney has no personal interest in delaying the proceedings and that it is the defendant himself who is directing his counsel to take such an approach.

Mr. Ghoukasyan says that, “This is all the result of the fact that defendant Igityan was never taken into custody at the time as a pre-trial measure even though there were sufficient reasons to do so. Had Igityan been taken into custody he would have requested that trial sessions take place daily in order for the matter to be quickly resolved.” He goes on by concluding that the fastest route out of this entire jumble is for Igityan to be detained in the interim.

“It’s true, the defendant shows up at all the trial sessions and, on the face of it, appears not to hinder the court proceedings. But it’s clear to all what’s actually going on. In essence, the actions of the defense are leaving the court with no other alternative but to take the extreme measure of detaining the accused.” states Ghoukasyan.

What course of action Judge Vardanyan takes will become clear at the trial session scheduled for June 18th. Of course, this will depend on whether Defense Attorney K. Grigoryan shows up or not and whether the trial is once again postponed.

http://hetq.am/eng/court/8151/

#37 MosJan

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Posted 23 September 2008 - 10:57 AM

Igityan Sentenced to 4 ½ Years in Najarian Fraud Case

Ararat Davtyan September 22, 2008


Grigor Igityan, who had been charged with defrauding American-Armenian benefactors Carolann and George Najarian out of a substantial amount of property, was sentenced to 4 ½ years imprisonment by the Kentron and Nork Marash Court. The sentence did not include a stipulation regarding a retrieval of the swindled assets.

The trial lasted 18 months. Due to delaying tactics by the defense, the final arguments stage of the trial had been postponed by four months. Finally, on September 9th Defense Attorney Kromvel Grigoryan made his closing arguments whilst the accused, Mr. Igityan, declared that he was innocent of the charges levied against him.
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The court however substantiated the charges against Igityan - that between 1995-2001 he continuously engaged in tactics to confound and confuse the American-Armenian benefactor George Najarian and by gaining his trust, to deceitfully gain control of available and business-related funds in his bank accounts and by fraudulently using these to legally gain control of a photo shop in Yerevan located at 32 Abovyan Street as well as the partially constructed buildings #4 and 11/12 and the land they stand on located in the ‘Dzoragyugh’ ethnographic neighborhood.”

The above-mentioned real estate, now under lock and key, and the photo laboratory purchased by Mr. Najarian for the photo store, were returned to the injured party by the court which found all the documentation supplied by Igityan to be invalid. The civil suit by Najarian, to recoup the income earned by the defendant through the photo store (some $90,000), was passed over by Judge Zhora Vardanyan who found a lack of substantiating evidence for such a claim.

The Court also found that Igityan didn’t declare the buildings in ‘Dzoragyugh’ to the Tax Service and that, according to his sales agreement, he unloaded the buildings at far less than market prices. He also failed to register the more than 5.5 million drams he made from the sale to the proper authorities.

The Court has substantiated the tax evasion charges brought against Igityan in this matter and is in the preliminary stage of assessing the losses incurred by the state.

The Judge however noted a number of mitigating circumstances to lighten the culpability of Igityan and declared that, “he is the sole bread winner of the family, has two individuals under his care, has no prior record and, as he himself states, is in ill-health.”

Judge Vardanyan has saw fit not to detain Igityan until the sentence takes legal effect, viewing the defendant’s signed pledge not to flee as adequate. Igityan has one month to appeal the sentence. This means that in case an appeal is filed, Igityan will remain free, even if the Court of Appeals changes nothing.

Hrayr Ghukasyan, the Najarians’ attorney, stated that, “The Court proved quite lenient. However, we’d all be more at ease if the Court found it necessary to detain the guilty party before the sentence goes into effect.” He states however that they are more or less satisfied with the court’s decision.

Most likely Mr. Igityan will appeal the sentence. In his past petitions and protests forwarded to top Armenian officials he has threatened “to take his case to the European Court in defense of his rights”.

http://hetq.am/eng/court/8373/

#38 MosJan

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 11:57 AM

VERDICT AND APPEAL: CONVICTED ASSOCIATE IN LANDMARK EMBEZZLEMENT CASE APPEALING VERDICT


  • A criminal court of appeal in Yerevan on Wednesday for the third time postponed the hearing of an appeal from a man convicted on embezzlement charges in a landmark trial and sentenced to a prison term in September. On September 13, the lower court of Yerevan's Kentron and Nork-Marash communities put an end to a litigation that lasted for a year and a half between American Armenian philanthropists George and Carolann Najarian and their former Yerevan associate Grigor Igityan, finding the latter guilty of abusing the Boston couple's full trust to assume possession of their bank account, and assume rights to property.. The court sentenced Igityan to 54 months in jail. The court found that the property assumed by Igityan rightfully belonged to the Najarians. Despite the verdict and prison sentence, Igityan, however, has not begun his sentence. Najarian's supporters fear that by this verdict the matter has not been settled and that the potential decisions of the courts of appeal and cassation might be unpredictable, since, as sources tell ArmeniaNow, senior officials of the prosecutor's office show personal interest in this case. This case in 2003-2005 has been a ping-pong game between the prosecutor's office and the court, with prosecutors three times dismissing it for lack of "corpus delicti", disregarding the fact that about 30 people had testified against Igityan. Still in the 1990s Igityan cooperated with the Najarians and since under the previous law foreigners had no right to own property in Armenia, buildings and a photo shop constructed at Najarian's expense were formally registered on Igityan's name with a verbal understanding that later they would be re-registered to the true owner. Later Igityan disavowed the arrangement and claimed that the Najarians had no right to the property. Igityan asserts that the court has a biased attitude and should not return the property to Najarian, since, he claims, he had an input in their creation. "A document, which is an expert finding from the Justice Ministry, shows quite a different thing, simply it is obvious that the court is under pressure and makes a decision against the existing evidence," Igityan said. The Yerevan court will continue on December 17 to consider the appeal in the case that the Najarians have repeatedly said is significant not only for themselves, but for other Diaspora investors because it sets precedent, unless, as Najarian supporters fear, it is postponed again. "This is already a well-known tactics, one day the lawyer is absent, one day the prosecutor is not there, and they will constantly drag it on to make sure Igityan is at large as long as possible and under the Criminal Code of Armenia, court examination can last for an indefinite period of time," says Najarian lawyer Hrair Ghukasyan.
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#39 MosJan

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Posted 18 December 2008 - 12:13 PM

Another Puzzling Twist in the Najarian Court Case

Levon Hayrapetyan December 15, 2008


On September 13, 2008, Grigor Igityan, the former translator and representative for the Najarians, was sentenced to four and a half years imprisonment by the Kentron and Nork-Marash Court on the charge of swindling Carolann and George Najarian out of their personal property. The court decided to let Mr. Igityan free on his own recognizance until the sentence went into effect. printable version

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After the trial, a Diaspora-Armenian acquaintance of mine wrote me saying, ‘You see, justice has won out, and you write that the courts in Armenia aren’t independent and that they do not hand down just sentences’. I replied to my diasporan friend by way of a popular saying – don’t get undressed before reaching the river. I wrote that it was still early for congratulations and that our justice system was full of nooks and crannies.
Grigor Igityan’s lawyer disputed the sentence at the Court of Appeals. However it is the third time and the courts can’t review a case that has been dragging on for five years. I should remind readers that on November 7, 2008, the trial session was postponed due to the absence in court of public prosecutor Hovsep Sargsyan and that on November 17th the same prosecutor requested an adjournment in order to familiarize himself with the facts of the case. I’ll only note that Hovsep Sargsyan had indeed previously studied the case file and that it was he, once having established a guilty charge, who took the case to court.

On December 3, 2008, the ROA Criminal Court of Appeals once again postponed a review of the case. This time around neither the public prosecutor nor Igityan’s defense attorney, Kromvel Grigoryan, showed up in court.

According to our sources the last three postponements in the Court of Appeals were due to specific motivating reasons. According to information supplied by an official at the Chief Prosecutor’s Office, due to the testimony given during the past few weeks by a top official within the court system, a scheme to once and for quash this case was discussed. Accordingly, Prosecutor Sargsyan would have to withdraw the guilty charge thus leading to a shortened court case.

Our prosecutor insider who participated in the above discussions explains that the reason he has come clean with information regarding “the dirty laundry of the Prosecutor’s Office is that ‘he simply couldn’t silently accept such a travesty which representatives of the system sworn to safeguard law and order had planned and were attempting to carry out’.

Research of the corresponding ROA legal statutes, discussions with various lawyers and their evaluations of the case lead to one conclusion – it would be legal nonsense for the prosecutor to withdraw his guilty charge in the Court of Appeals. Such a move is expressly forbidden in the statutes of the Court of Appeals. The prosecutor can withdraw a guilty charge base on an examination of the evidence collected, but only before the court passes sentence. In the Najarian case, Prosecutor Gevorg Yeremyan, who participated in the Court of First Instance trial, not only didn’t withdraw the guilty charge but he also claimed that the evidence and arguments brought before the court fully substantiated it and petitioned the court to sentence Grigor Igityan to five years imprisonment.

In addition, not only didn’t Prosecutor Yeremyan dispute the sentence but neither didn’t any other prosecutor. This only goes to prove that they all agreed with the sentence. It is perhaps possible to speculate as to what has forced prosecution officials to take this step. In all probability the reason is the millions of dollars worth of real estate belonging to the Najarians that Grigor Igityan fraudulently swindled from them.
Another factor bolstering the probability of such a chain of events is the fact that Igityan remains free even though there is sufficient basis for him to be detained in custody before sentence takes effect. It has been noted many times in past “Hetq” articles that Igityan has constantly sought and made use of the protection of people with influence. This aspect, when viewed under the light of the above-mentioned facts, leads to more concrete conclusions.

One thing is clear – if the December 3rd trial session of the Court of Appeals wasn’t held then something prevented the realization of the previously concocted scenario of the Chief Prosecutor’s Office. At the court session to be held on December 17th at the ROA Criminal Court of Appeals, it will become apparent whether this scenario is still on the table or whether another one is in the offing.

This headline grabbing case has disconcerted many who have been following it, both in Armenia and in the Diaspora. It is of note to add that the much maligned Najarians continue to carryout benevolent projects in Armenia and Artsakh.



#40 MosJan

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Posted 18 December 2008 - 12:22 PM

achqis yerevuma es gorts@ der shat jur k@tani






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