Hovik Abrahamyan

Hovik Argami Abrahamyan (Armenian: Հովիկ Արգամի Աբրահամյան; also known by nickname Muk, born 24 January 1959) is an Armenian politician, former member of the ruling Republican Party, he was the Prime Minister of Armenia from 13 April 2014[1] to 8 September 2016.[2] Previously he was the President of the National Assembly of Armenia.

Hovik Abrahamyan
Հովիկ Աբրահամյան
President of the National Assembly.jpg
13th Prime Minister of Armenia
In office
13 April 2014 – 13 September 2016
PresidentSerzh Sargsyan
Preceded byTigran Sargsyan
Succeeded byKaren Karapetyan
President of the National Assembly
In office
31 May 2012 – 13 April 2014
Preceded bySamvel Nikoyan
Succeeded byGalust Sahakyan
In office
28 September 2008 – 21 November 2011
Preceded byHrayr Karapetyan (Acting)
Succeeded bySamvel Nikoyan
Personal details
Born
Hovik Argami Abrahamyan

(1959-01-24) 24 January 1959 (age 62)
Mkhchyan, Soviet Union (now Armenia)
Political partyRepublican Party
Alma materArmenian State University of Economics

Early lifeEdit

Abrahamyan, born in Mkhchyan village in Armenia's Ararat Province, began his professional career in 1990 as the department head of the Burastan Brandy Factory and later as the president of Artashat wine-brandy factory. In 1995 he became a member of the Armenian parliament. He became Mayor of Artashat in 1996, and the governor of Ararat Province in 1998.[3]

Political careerEdit

Under President Robert Kocharyan's administration, in 2005 he was appointed Minister of the Territorial Administration (which oversees regional government structures), serving until 2008 when he resigned in order to be appointed in April 2008 by the newly elected President Serzh Sargsyan as head of his presidential staff. In August 2008 he was re-elected in an uncontested election (in a seat vacated by the resignation of Abrahamian's older brother, Henrikto)[4] to the National Assembly (fourth convocation), and in September 2008 he was elected as President of the National Assembly of Armenia. He resigned as president in November 2011 and was re-elected to the National Assembly on May 6, 2012 as a member of the Republican Party of Armenia.[3] He opposed his predecessor's asset declaration draft law that would have required Armenian politicians and senior public officials to declare their business holdings and business interests.[5]

Prime MinisterEdit

He was appointed as Prime Minister in April 2014 following the resignation of Tigran Sargsyan. Abrahamyan was nominated for the role of prime minister by President Serzh Sargsyan calling him a "very effective new prime minister."[6] He was congratulated by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.[7]

Public imageEdit

In various cables sent in 2008, Joseph Pennington, Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Yerevan, characterized Abrahamyan as being "regarded by outside observers - and many Armenians - as an unpolished, poorly educated and parochial figure, a crass nouveau riche whose brand of dirty-money politics, abuse of state "administrative resources", and cunning opportunism is in the worst tradition of recent Armenian politics",[citation needed] as "an oily, machine politician ... at the center of a purposeful effort to abuse agencies and offices of local government to arm-twist every vote he possibly can for the prime minister",[8] the "chief operating officer of the dirtiest and most coercive tactics of Serzh Sargsian's presidential election campaign",[9] and "an unsophisticated thug" whose "instincts are not progressive".[5]

Also in 2008, US Ambassador to Armenia Marie Yovanovitch described Abrahamian as a politician who uses his political power to promote his business interests.[10] He has also been reported as owning more than two dozen companies, including three sand mines on the Araks river; 1,500 hectares of grape fields in Artashat; more than 10 gas stations outside Yerevan; one third of "Ararat Cement"; casinos; petrol stations; and a $7 million summer home in the Crimea.[11] He opposed his predecessor's asset declaration draft law that would have required Armenian politicians and senior public officials to declare their business holdings and business interests.[12]

Abrahamyan's son, Argam, is married to a daughter of Gagik Tsarukyan, oligarch and Prosperous Armenia party leader.

Criminal ProsecutionEdit

After the change of power in Armenia - in which opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan became Prime Minister - a large-scale fight against corruption was announced. A number of criminal cases were initiated against many former top officials, including the former president Robert Kocharian[13] and the late Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan.[14]

At the end of August 2018, the late Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan, his brother Henrik (who was arrested on August 8, 2008 on charges of illegal possession of weapons), and former chief Police of Armenia from 2008 to 2011 Alik Sargsyan were defendants in a criminal case. In a statement by the director of Avazaatik Ltd. (a company which operates a sand pit in the village of Noramarg, Ararat region of Armenia) high-ranking officials demanded 60% of shares with registration of these shares given to two individuals in 2008. 30% of the shares were registered in the name of Hovik Abrahamyan's brother Henrik (Jonik), who later sold his shares.[15][16][17]

At the same time, the Avazaatik company was involved in lawsuits initiated by the former head of Noramagh Sarkis Galstyan, who was seeking to terminate a contract between the Noramagha community and the company. This case involved five hectares of agricultural land within the administrative territory of the community. In 2012, the Avazaatik company was granted permission to develop a quarry in the Noramarg community.[citation needed] Henrik (Jonik) Abrahamyan was arrested after a search of a former factory in the territory located in the village of Mkhchyan discovered a large number of weapons and ammunition, including 3 light machine guns, 7 machine guns AK-74, 2 SVD sniper rifles, 3 different types of rifles, 2 pistols and a large number of bullets of different caliber.[citation needed] This factory was de facto owned by the former Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan, registered in the name of Ambik Gevorgyan, and was the framework in the case for dispersing demonstrations on March 1, 2008.[17]

In June 2019, the Special Investigative Service of Armenia reported that the preliminary investigation in the criminal case against Hovik Abrahamyan, based on the sale of 15 land plots in Dilijan communities (land plots with an area of 15 thousand sq.m and 57 thousand sq.m on Babajanyan Street, and plots along Saralanja street with an area of 731, 761, 701 and 720 sq.m): Mkhchyan (land plots with an area of 8.9 hectares, 9.1 hectares, 8 hectares, 9 hectares, 5.6 hectares, 7.2 hectares and industrial territory with a total area of 4092 sq.m) and Narek (land plot with an area of 90 hectares and pasture of 30 hectares) without holding auctions and by issuing false documents. Despite the expiration of the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution in a number of cases, decisions sent to the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure of Armenia to annul the previously concluded transactions sought to return these land plots to the communities.[18]

IncomeEdit

At the end of 2013, the total income for Hovik Abrahamyan and his wife Juliet exceeded $6 million.[19] Earlier, he declared the income was from the sale of agricultural products from 2011 to 2013 in the amount of 125 million AMD (about $290,000.00). During the specified period, his wife Juliet received 138 million drams (about $318,000.00). Nikol Pashinyan asked about the origin of Abrahamyan's fortune despite the fact that he didn’t conduct business in that area.[20]

While running for parliament in 2012, Hovik Abrahamyan declared the following: an apartment with an area of 276 sq.m on Tumanyan Street in Yerevan, an apartment with an area of 146 sq.m on Shmidt Street, an apartment with an area of 260 sq.m on Teryan Street, and a garage with an area of 18 sq.m.[21][22]

Abrahamyan declared the same properties in 2014 when he took office as Prime Minister of Armenia. During this time, a number of media outlets indicated other properties belonging to the relatives of Hovik Abrahamyan, in particular, his brother Henrik and others. According to Hetq.am, Hovik Abrahamyan and Tigran Arzakantsyan, Deputy of the National Assembly of Armenia, founded Paramount Gold Mining Ltd., a company which develops the Lusajur section of the Meghradzor gold deposit in the Kotayk region. According to Arzakantsyan, he is the sole proprietor.[23][24][25]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Hovik Abrahamyan appointed Prime Minister". Public Radio of Armenia. 13 April 2014. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  2. ^ "Armenia's premier resigns - Armenian News". Tert.am. Archived from the original on 2016-09-09. Retrieved 2017-12-11.
  3. ^ a b "Hovik Abrahamyan". National Assembly of Armenia. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  4. ^ "Pro-Kocharian Party Boss Moves to Parliament, as Behind-Scenes Power Tussle Continues". 25 August 2008. Retrieved 8 September 2016 – via WikiLeaks PlusD.
  5. ^ a b "Armenian National Assembly Speaker Weighs in on Foreign Policy and Domestic Reforms". 22 December 2009. Retrieved 8 September 2016 – via WikiLeaks PlusD.
  6. ^ "Armenian president names speaker as new prime minister". 13 April 2014. Retrieved 8 September 2016 – via Reuters.
  7. ^ "Medvedev congratulates Abramyan on appointment as Armenian prime minister". Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  8. ^ "Our Push Against Pre-Election Pressure Draws Counter-Fire from President". 7 February 2008. Retrieved 8 September 2016 – via WikiLeaks PlusD.
  9. ^ "Armenia's New Cabinet: Slightly Freshened, but a Lot Like the Old One". 23 April 2008. Retrieved 8 September 2016 – via WikiLeaks PlusD.
  10. ^ Parliament Prez and MP Get Lucrative Mining License http://hetq.am/eng/news/960// Archived 2014-04-20 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "The New PM: Predicted rise to power for Hovik Abrahamyan - Politics - ArmeniaNow.com". Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  12. ^ https://www.wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/09YEREVAN885_a.html "I don't accept such things," he proclaimed.
  13. ^ "Ýêñ-ïðåçèäåíò Àðìåíèè Êî÷àðÿí îáâèíåí â ñâåðæåíèè êîíñòèòóöèîííîãî ñòðîÿ â 2008 ãîäó". Interfax.ru.
  14. ^ "Как премьер Пашинян строит Армению, свободную от коррупции | DW | 31.08.2018". DW.COM.
  15. ^ "Â Àðìåíèè çàäåðæàí áðàò ýêñ-ïðåìüåðà ñòðàíû Àáðààìÿíà". Interfax.ru.
  16. ^ "Овик Абрамян отнял у компании "Авазаатик" акции и песчаный карьер, а суды вынесли решения в пользу бывшего премьера". Hetq.am.
  17. ^ a b " Àðìåíèè ïðîòèâ ýêñ-ïðåìüåðà Àáðààìÿíà âîçáóäèëè äåëî î ïðåâûøåíèè ïîëíîìî÷èé". Interfax.ru.
  18. ^ "Речь начальника Специальной следственной службы РА на торжественном заседании посвященному 12-летию образования Службы". www.ccc.am.
  19. ^ "Հայտարարագրերի ռեեստր - ՀՀ Կոռուպցիայի կանխարգելման հանձնաժողով". cpcarmenia.am.
  20. ^ Baghdasaryan, Grisha Balasanyan and Edik. "Семейная коммерция армянского премьера". www.occrp.org.
  21. ^ "Бизнес премьер-министра Овика Абрамяна не имеет границ". Hetq.am.
  22. ^ "Бизнес Овика Абрамяна не имеет границ-2". Hetq.am.
  23. ^ "Овик Абрамян и Тигран Арзаканцян будут добывать золото. Их интерес является превалирующим". Hetq.am.
  24. ^ "Бизнес Овика Абрамяна не имеет границ-3". Hetq.am.
  25. ^ "Сбербанк запасается армянским золотом" – via Kommersant.

External linksEdit

Government offices
Preceded by
Prime Minister of Armenia
2014–2016
Succeeded by