Archbishop Refutes Money Laundering Charges: “It’s All A Fantasy.”

Primate of the Ararat Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church Archbishop Navasard Kjoyan refutes the swindling and money laundering charges levied against him on April 13, after being questioned for eight hours by Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS).

The charges stem from Kjoyan’s alleged involvement in a Cyprus offshore business deal involving powerful state and business player in Armenia that Hetq first wrote about in 2013. One of those players is former Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan.

Hetq spoke with Kjoyan’s lawyer, Hovik Arsenyan, regarding the April 13 interrogation of his client by the NSS and other maters related to the case.

Mr. Arsenyan, what did Navasard Kjoyan say about the charges? He stated that it is a fantasy and does not correspond to reality at all. He doesn’t understand any of it, the basis on which the charges have been made.

Why a fantasy? What, specifically, doesn’t he understand? The NSS warned me not to publicize case materials, so I can only speak about the charges. Let me just talk about the bishop ․ He’s the godfather of Ashot Sukiasyan, and he did not pursue any personal goal. He has nothing to do with the loans taken and pledged in the criminal case. The same factual circumstances existed 7-8 years ago, why was he not charged at that time?

Has Kjoyan met with anyone within the framework of the criminal case? No. I went with him to the NSS Investigation Department for the first time two days ago. They immediately charged him. The charges were already printed up.

According to the NSS, your client, in prior agreement with Ashot Sukiasyan, deceived and frauded businessman Paylak Hayrapetyan into investing $12 million in the diamond mines Sukiasyan allegedly owned in Africa. Hayrapetyan was told the money was to be used to increase production and to send the raw material to Armenia for processing. His Holiness has never had a conversation with Paylak Hayrapetyan on any topic.

The NSS statement also states that they acquired the rights to property, valued at 11.442 billion drams, owned by Paylak Hayrapetyan and his relatives, and used the real estate as collateral to secure loans of 3.664 billion drams ($9million) and 361.5 million drams. The money was then deposited in an offshore created specifically for money laundering. The NSS says that Kjoyan owned 33% of the company. Ashot Sukiasyan was the director of the company that was established.  It’s always been said that Kjoyan and Tigran Sargsyan were shareholders. Tigran Sargsyan and Archbishop Navasard Kjoyan were not interested in the financial dealings of the company, what contracts were signed, or who was embezzling. My client just signed a document to create a company. Kjoyan has a share in the company, but there’s no money in it, not even a penny. There has never been, and the documents prove this.

Is the name of former Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan referred to in the charges against your client? No.

Don’t you find this odd? It’s not strange for me, let it be strange for you (laughs). I have always had respect for the NSS Investigation Department, I know many employees there.
Nevertheless, I do not see any basis for this case from a legal perspective. This has discredited the entire investigative department, together with the NSS. They would not have done such a thing on their own initiative, and I cannot understand where all this is coming from, where it is going and what the goal is
I have always fought, not only as a lawyer, to have justice and a system not influenced by the developments of the day. Unfortunately, I noticed the handwriting of the former authorities today and I am in great pain.

H/T Hetq

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