“What do they mean by saying they have a surprise? Are they going to make a 9-million dollar worth surprise?” opposition lawmaker Nikol Pashinyan told Aravot.am in reply to the statements of Yurik Khachatryan, an attorney of businessman Ashot Sukiasyan, who was arrested earlier this year in connection with an offshore scandal-related case.
This came after Yurik Khachatryan announced that Ashot Sukiasyan wanted to make a present for former Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan and Archbishop Navasard Kchoyan, Primate of the Araratyan Diocese who is also linked to the aforesaid offshore scandal, by opening an overseas company by their names.
Nikol Pashinyan says Tigran Sargsyan would be surprised if Sukiasyan gifted him a beautiful pen or said that a businessman was going to make a 50-milion dollar investment in Armenia and open a new factory. “But who has heard someone dividing his nine million dollars between three?” Pashinyan considers the ‘surprise’ to be a vivid instance of corruption.
In June 2013, Ashot Sukiasyan was charged with committing fraud on a particularly large scale in an offshore scandal. The businessman went into hiding after Hetq.am broke the Cyprus offshore story and his involvement along with Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan and Archbishop Navasard Kjoyan. Sukiasyan then was not in Armenia and a search for him was announced.
Armenian police issued a search warrant for Sukiasyan last June and charged him with large-scale embezzlement and money laundering. He was arrested at the international airport of Tbilisi in February after embarking from a flight from Istanbul.