Ashot Gevorkovich Egiazaryan (Russian: Ашот Геворкович Егиазарян; Armenian: Աշոտ Գեւորգովիչ Էկիազարյան; born July 24, 1965) is a former Russian politician and businessman.

Ashot Egiazaryan
Born (1965-07-24) July 24, 1965 (age 58)
Occupation(s)Politician, Businessman

Career edit

Banking edit

In 1988, Egiazaryan graduated from the Economics Faculty of Moscow State University with a Ph.D. in economics, and subsequently began a career in banking.

In 1993, Egiazaryan established and became the Chairman of the Moscow National Bank (MNB). By 1995, MNB had become one of the largest banks in Russia, housing accounts of the Administration of Moscow region, The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, Russian State Arms Export Company, The Russian Space Agency and the General Prosecutor’s Office.

In 1996, Egiazaryan was appointed Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors of “Unikombank” JSCB, a position he held from June 1996 to May 1998.

In 1999, Egiazaryan provided testimony in the criminal case regarding the embezzlement of $130 million from accounts held at MNB. The embezzled funds belonged to state-owned Rosvooruzheniye Weaponry Company. The investigation found that MNB used forged documents to withdraw the state funds. The stolen money was then moved through the MNB-controlled Unikom bank.

MNB’s banking license was revoked in 1998, but no criminal charges were brought against Egiazaryan.

Politics edit

In 1999, Egiazaryan became a member of the State Duma and deputy chairman of the Committee on Budget and Taxes.

While Rinat Akhmetshin headed the International Eurasian Institute, Andrey Vavilov hired Akhmetshin to thwart the efforts of Ashot Egiazaryan who was trying to obtain political asylum in the United States.[1]

Criminal Indictment edit

In August 2010, Europark investor Vitaly Smagin filed a lawsuit against Egiazaryan, accusing him of pledging Smagin’s stake in the Europark shopping mall in western Moscow to Deutsche Bank as collateral on an $87.5M loan. The $87.5M loan was then used to secure a 20% interest in the Moskva Hotel project.[2]

In September 2010, after the commencement of a criminal investigation into the $87.5M fraud, Egiazaryan filed a claim in a Cyprus court complaining that a group of Russian politicians, and businessmen, including Suleyman Kerimov, conspired to take over Egiazaryan’s share in the multi-billiondollar Moskva Hotel project.[3] On September 15, 2010, a Cyprus court granted an injunctive freeze on Suleyman Kerimov’s assets.[4] The case was later dismissed on February 15, 2011, and the district court of Nicosia in Cyprus lifted the injunction on Kerimov’s assets. The court stated that Egiazaryan had failed to disclose essential facts in the original filing for the injunction and that the alleged conspiracy happened 15 months before the filing of the original complaint.[5]

In October 2010 the State Duma’s Credentials and Ethics Commission recommended stripping Egiazaryan of parliamentary immunity at the request of the Investigative Committee, based on accusations that Egiazaryan embezzled $87 million for his share of the Hotel Moskva project.[6]

On November 3, 2010, the State Duma followed through with a request by Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika and officially stripped Egiazaryan of his immunity. A total of 352 lawmakers of the Duma voted in favor of this action, with 39 deputies, all members of the Liberal Democratic Party, opposing the motion and five members abstained from the vote.[7]

In November 2010, investigators raided Egiazaryan’s offices at the Dayev Plaza and also conducted searches at Egiazaryan’s residences in Moscow. The search was later extended to the offices of the Europark shopping mall, of which Egiazaryan was a part owner.[8][9]

On December 17, 2010, the Russian Authorities seized three land plots belonging to Egiazaryan.[10] One plot is located in Barvikha, and the other two in Zhukovka. Egiazaryan’s Duma office was also searched and investigators seized paperwork related to the case against him.[11]

In January 2011, the Basmanny district court of Moscow indicted Egiazaryan on charges of large scale fraud. The court also attached Egiazaryan’s assets to be used to compensate Vitaly Smagin and Europark for the $87.5M that was embezzled.[12]

As a result of the court ruling, the lower house of parliament in Russia gave approval on March 9, 2011, for Egiazaryan’s arrest on charges of large-scale fraud.[11]

Arrival in the United States edit

After being indicted for fraud in Russia, Egiazaryan fled to the United States, claiming that he feared for his life and that the fraud allegations against him were politically motivated.[13]

Peter Zalmayev, director of the Eurasia Democracy Initiative (EDI), stated, “Egiazaryan claims he is fleeing persecution, but the real reason appears to be that he is fleeing prosecution. His lawyers are reportedly seeking political asylum for their client.”[13][14][15]

Egiazaryan later sued Zalmayev for defamation and Zalmayev countersued for infringement of his speech utilizing the anti-Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation laws of New York State. Egiazaryan’s case was dismissed, but Zalmayev’s case continues.[16]

References edit

  1. ^ Higgins, Andrew; Kramer, Andrew E. (15 July 2017). "Soviet Veteran Who Met With Trump Jr. Is a Master of the Dark Arts". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 13 April 2022. Retrieved 13 April 2022.
  2. ^ "Жириновскому не простят Егиазаряна". 2010-08-26. Retrieved 2013-04-22.
  3. ^ Belton, Catherine (2010-09-22). "Russian tycoon's assets frozen". Retrieved 2013-04-22.
  4. ^ Orphanides, Stelios (2010-11-17). "Kerimov Set to Challenge Asset Freeze in Dec. 14 Court Hearing". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2013-04-22.
  5. ^ Orphanides, Stelios (2011-02-15). "Cyprus Court Lifts Freeze on Uralkali, Polyus Stock". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2013-04-22.
  6. ^ “Parliament member sued for embezzlement.” Russian Financial Control Monitor. August 24, 2010.
  7. ^ “In the Deputy Signs of Fraud Were Found.” October 23, 2010. (Russian language)
  8. ^ “Investigators searched the office deputy from the LDPR Ashot Yeghiazaryan.” Yerkarmas. November 8, 2010. (Russian language); “Yegiazaryan Office Searched.” Moscow Times. November 9, 2010.
  9. ^ "Investigators Search the Places of Residence or Stay in Moscow of Deputy Ashot Egiazaryan." Itar-tass[permanent dead link] (Russian language). 1/12/2010.
  10. ^ "Yegiazaryan's Land Seized". The Moscow Times. 17 December 2010. Archived from the original on 22 December 2010. Retrieved 23 January 2011.
  11. ^ a b "Main news of March 9". 2014-04-13. Retrieved 2013-04-22.[dead link]
  12. ^ "В рамках уголовного дела в отношении Ашота Егиазаряна наложен арест на денежные средства и ценные бумаги". Archived from the original on 2013-07-06. Retrieved 2013-04-22.
  13. ^ a b Peter Zalmayev (2011-03-09). "Hiding in Beverly Hills | Opinion". Jewish Journal. Retrieved 2013-04-22.
  14. ^ "AP Exclusive: Fearful Russian Lawmaker Flees To US". Retrieved 2020-02-26.
  15. ^ "Russian fugitive poses U.S. problem". Press Herald. Associated Press. 2011-02-07. Retrieved 2020-02-26.
  16. ^ "Egiazaryan v. Zalmayev". December 6, 2011. Retrieved 2013-04-22.

External links edit