It appears that there’s an Azerbaijani connection to the banking sector in Armenia.
The State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ) owns a 3% share in VTB Bank JSC, which in turn owns 100% of VTB Bank (Armenia) CJSC.
VTB Bank (Armenia) was founded in March 2004 when Russia’s Foreign Trade Bank – Vneshtorgbank (formerly VTB Bank) acquired 70%+1 of the shares of HayKhnayBank. In 2006, the bank was rebranded as VTB Bank (Armenia). In 2007, VTB Bank JSC acquired the remaining shares (30% minus one).
So who are the other shareholders of VTB Bank JSC? According to the published list on the bank’s website, the largest shareholder is Russia (61%), followed by Norges Bank (the Central Bank of Norway) with 4.3% and SOFAZ (2.9%)
The SOFAZ was established by Decree № 240 of Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev on December 29, 1999 and has reserves of over US $30 billion.
VTB Bank has extended loans to Teghout CJSC, the company which operates the Teghout mine in Armenia. According to a 2011 financial loan agreement, 100% of the shares of Teghout CJSC were transferred to Teghout Investment Limited, registered in Cyprus. The Vallex Group subsidiary owns 50.05% of Teghout Investment Limited and the remainder is owned by VTB Group.
As a result, Azerbaijan, via VTB Bank, is financing the mining operation at Teghout.