Friday, 13 December

Official Financial Disclosures of the Presidential Nominees

Artur Vahan Baghdasaryan: Orinats Yerkir  (Rule of Law Party)

The President of the Orinats Yerkir Party reported the following assets and income for the period of January 1, 2006 to December 31, 2006.

According to the statement Mr. Baghdasaryan was a Deputy to the National Assembly of the ROA. Let us point out that up till May 29, 2006 he was the President of the National Assembly, a post that he resigned from. His official residence is registered at Byron Street #3 in the Central District of Yerevan but he reported no real estate or vehicle ownership for the period in question. The only income he reported was 3.4 million drams in salaries from the National Assembly. In addition to this sum he had assets of 7.9 million drams and $216,000 at the beginning of 2006 and 8.1 million drams and $190,000 at the end of 2006.

Artashes Mamikon Geghamyan: Azgayin Miabanutyun (National Unity Party)

The financial statement made by the leader of the National Unity Party to the Central Election Committee (CEC) covered the period January 1, 2006 to January 1, 2007.

On the line asking for “Place of work/job title”, Mr. Geghamyan wrote, “President of the National Unity Party”. Perhaps it would have been more accurate to state that during the period in question he was a Deputy in the National Assembly and received a salary as such. As for the amount of that salary Mr. Geghamyan answered that he received 4 million drams in salaries from the National Assembly for that one-year period. As of January 1, 2006 he had $43,000 in assets and as of January 1, 2007 he had $39,000 in assets.

His official residence is an apartment at Mashtots Street #18, registered as his sole property. The apartment measures 106 square meters. He is also registered as a joint-owner of two car garages (18 and 36 square meters) located at Amiryan Street #18. Mr. Geghamyan failed to note the other owners. The residence of his wife is registered at Amiryan Street #20. The candidate possessed no automobiles during the financial year in question.

Tigran Karapet Karapetyan: Zhoghovrtakan  (People’s Party)

For the period of January 1, 2006 to December 31, 2006, Mr. Karapetyan disclosed owning five properties and five vehicles.

According to the statement he co-owns apartments on Aygetzor and Griboyedov Street (probably with his wife. The first apartment, which serves as his official residence, measures 290 square meters and the second, purchased in 2006, measures 43.6. He also disclosed the sole ownership of two industrial facilities: Komitas Street #59 (2024 sq. meters) and Mamikonyants #27a (307.5 sq. meters). He also declared himself to be the sole owner of an industrial lot of land measuring 1,200 sq. meters at Komitas Street #59. His “ALM Holding Ltd.” firm is located at the same address

Mr. Karapetyan possessed the following five vehicles: Dodge (1996), Jeep (1993), 2 Mercedes (1991, 1995) and a 1975 Ikarus bus.

Despite these property holdings, Mr. Karapetyan had no monetary assets according to his disclosure and earned a very small salary of 360,000 drams from “ALM Holding” and 240,000 drams from “Albatros Ltd.". Also reported as income was 999,000 drams as rent from an undisclosed property. One wonders how someone with a mere 1.6 million dram income could afford to purchase an apartment on Griboyedov Street? In any event, he declared receiving no gifts or inherited assets in 2006 in his disclosure.

Aram Sergey Harutunyan: Azgayin Hamadzaynutyun (National Agreement Party)
Mr. Harutunyan, the President of the National Accord Party, made a financial statement covering the period January 1, 2006 to December 31, 2006.

He is the joint owner of a 44.7 square meter apartment at Lvovyan Street #9, an address registered as his official residence. The other owners aren’t mentioned in his disclosure. The other property he owns outright is a 2003 GAZ-3110 vehicle. Mr. Harutunyan declared that in 2006 he had zero monetary assets and that his only income was a 540,000 salary as a scientific worker at the Yerevan State University.

Vahan Edward Hovhannesyan: Dashnaktsutyun  (Armenian Revolutionary Federation)

This nominee of the ARF made a financial statement covering January 1, 2006 to January 1, 2007.

Mr. Hovhannesyan declared his official residence to be a 68 square meter apartment at Koryun Street #10. In 2006 he purchased another apartment (53.5 sq. meters) at Khachatryan #22. He owns a 3,300 square meter tract of land in the village of Arinch in the Kotayk Marz. He is the sole owner of the apartments and the land. Mr. Hovhannesyan declared owning no vehicles in 2006. As of January 1, 2006 he had assets of 4 million drams, $8,000 and 220,000 Euros. At the end of 2006 his Euro assets decreased to 170,000 (50,000 being spent to purchase the apartment at Khachatryan Street).

In 2006 Mr. Hovhannesyan’s main income was the 3.4 million dram salary he received from the National Assembly. He received 40,000 drams from the Yerevan State University as a token salary.

Vazgen Mikayel Manukyan: Azgayin Zhoghovrdavarakan Miutyun  (National Democratic Union)

In his financial statement of January 1, 2006 to December 31, 2006 Mr. Manukyan described himself as a Deputy of the National Assembly who owned the following: An apartment (359 sq. meters) on the first cul-de-sac off Baghramyan Avenue that serves as the official residence for him, his wife and three daughters; a loft (175 sq. meters); a garage (24 sq. meters) and a 178 sq. meter plot of land. He also owned (2) VAZ-2121 vehicles (1991 and 2003). He declared himself to be the sole owner of all this property. 

Aside from his salary of 3 million drams, he had no other monetary assets.

Arman Vardan Melikyan - No Party Affiliation

According to his disclosure covering the period January 1, 2006 to December 31, 2006, we learn that Mr. Melikyan was nominated as a presidential candidate by civil initiative. In 2006 he received a salary of about 2.5 million drams as an advisor to the NKR government. As of the beginning of 2006 he had assets of 2.7 million drams, an amount that increased to 3.5 million by year’s end.

Mr. Melikyan, whose official residence is at Halabyan Street #35, disclosed that he owned no property or vehicles during the year in question.

Serzh Azat Sargsyan: Hayastani Hanrapetakan  (Republican Party of Armenia)

The President of the Republic Party of Armenia was appointed Armenia’s Prime Minister on April 4, 2007. In his financial statement covering the period from January 1, 2006 to December 31, 2006, Mr. Sargsyan listed his ‘place of work/job title’ as “Prime Minister of the ROA”. During the time period under review Andranik Margaryan was the Prime Minister of the ROA and Serzh Sargsyan served as the Defense Minister. In the second part of his financial disclosure relating to incomes and their sources Mr. Sargsyan states that he worked at the Ministry of Defense, located at Gevorg Chavush Street #60, and received a salary of 3.6 million drams. He declared no other revenue for 2006. 

Mr. Sargsyan declared assets of 27 million drams and $69,000 at the beginning of 2006, and 58 million drams and no U.S. dollars at year’s end.

As for assets having “cultural value and other antiques”, Mr. Sargsyan declared owning 32 paintings of modern artists; a collection of works of Bashinchaghyan, Saryan, Minas, Hakobyan, Gyurjyan; and some statuettes, sculptures and other items of the 18th to 20th centuries.

As of 2006 he was the sole owner of a 1992 Mitsubishi vehicle and was the joint owner (the other owners aren’t mentioned) of an apartment (96 sq. meters) in Stepanakert, NKR. His official residence however is registered as Tzorap Street #72, the official summer residence of the ROA government.

Levon Hakob Ter-Petrosyan

The first President of the ROA, nominated as a presidential candidate by civil initiative, forwarded a financial disclosure statement to the Central Election Committee covering the January 1, 2007 to December 31, 2007 period. Mr. Ter-Petrosyan declared that he was a Senior Researcher at the Matenadaran (Depository of Ancient Manuscripts) and that he worked there in a ‘pro bono’ capacity, receiving no salary. His source of income for the period in question was the 3.6 million dram pension he received as past ROA President and the 4.3 million drams in rental income from two properties at Vardanants Street #5a.

In terms of property Mr. Ter-Petrosyan declared an apartment (his official residence) measuring 813 sq. meters on the Tzitzernakaberd highway; a 10,000 sq. meter tract of land and a 311 sq. meter piece of real estate located at Koryun Street #19a for public usage. He is the sole owner of these properties. In addition, he is the co-owner with another individual of a 203 sq. meter piece of real estate, also designed for public use, at Vardanants Street #5a.

The former president owns a 1997 Lincoln vehicle that he purchased in 1998.

Some Observations

Let's state from the outset that the financial disclosures of the presidential candidates differ from each other. We're not talking about content but in the way the candidates filled out the disclosure statements.

Amazingly only Aram Harutyunyan (06.12.07), Vahan Hovhannesyan (03.12.07), Vazgen Manukyan (03.12.07) and Levon Ter-Petrosyan (27.11.07) noted the exact date they completed their disclosure statements. While all the disclosures were completed during the period from November 27 to December 6, 2007, the other five candidates failed to note an exact date of completion.

Candidates Artashes Geghamyan and Vazgen Manukyan also didn't overlook completing that portion of the disclosure regarding, “details about dependents and others affiliated with those in managerial positions”, a line in the questionnaire which in parentheses read, “to be left blank”.  Here they made notes about their wives and Manukyan about his three daughters.

The manner in which the disclosure statements were completed was one of the essential issues involved, especially regarding the time period under review. At the very start, the respondents had to state the time period for which they were providing their financial disclosure. The questionnaire read that, «the period in question is noted to be from January 1 to December 31 for the year preceding the elections». All the candidates used 2006 as their financial year except for Mr. Ter-Petrosyan who used the year 2007. Reports in the press stated that only the first President «utilized the correct time period», while the Central Election Committee countered that in fact it was only Ter-Petrosyan who had violated the «defined regulations». The reason for the ensuing commotion on the issue was that the Central Election Committee registered that a violation of the procedural rules had taken place on December 18, 2006, only after the reports in the press came to light. But Levon Ter-Petrosyan had handed over his documents to the CEC days before the press reports. The CEC, according to Paragraph 73 of the ROA Electoral Code, was obligated to grant Ter-Petrosyan 48 hours in order to correct any mistakes.  Ter-Petrosyan's supporters believe that the CEC had intended to throw up roadblocks in front of their nominee and perhaps not duly register his candidacy at all. On January 18th the CEC reported that it had duly registered all nominated Presidential candidates, including Levon Ter-Petrosyan, whose campaign office had received no notice from the CEC regarding disclosure irregularities.
Most importantly is the fact that at least some of these disclosures do not reflect reality. The CEC states that the candidates must disclose figures regarding income and property as reported to the State Tax Service in the last filing period. In this case the figures cited in the disclosures are from 2006 tax filings as the 2007 filings are still due. In other words the Tax Service has income and property figures for the presidential candidates for the year 2006. Generally, those holding elective political posts and appointed positions, those serving in state and local self-governance bodies and others falling under the purview of the scope of the law, are obligated to register their property and income and file such documentation with the Tax Service.

Perhaps the Tax Service deems it a trivial matter, and in some cases even a gross breach of their authority, to take a much closer look at the financial disclosures of the candidates. In the words of Vahan Hovhannesyan regarding the personal property of the candidates, “ I feel sad for our country and society given that the citizens have seen this striking difference between the real facts and the fiction of official pronouncements.”

 - Today, January 21st, marks the official start of the Presidential election campaign.

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