Special Session to Discuss Brandy Factory Sale not Held

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Despite the demand of 64 deputies–a special meeting on the sale of the Yerevan Brandy Factory was not held.

Following the closed hearing held at the Armenian government–the chairman of the parliamentary standing Committee on Financial and Credit–Budget and Economic Issues–Armen Yeghiazarian and speaker of the Parliament Khosrov Harutiunian told journalists that they did not find it proper to hold a special meeting. Revision of the decision regarding the sale of the brandy factory would jeopardize the international prestige of Armenia–they felt. The factory was sold to the French Pernod Ricard company.

At his press conference last week–Harutiunian said that he personally held a meeting with those who called for a special session.

Eighteen deputies from five deputy groups and factions held a press-conference Friday to discuss that the special session was not held.

Arshak Sadoyan said that a game resembling "bazaar belot" (a card game) began. Sixty-seven signatures were submitted to the speaker of the Parliament. In response–Harutiunian presented the applications of only four deputies who withdrew their signatures. When initiators collected the additional number of necessary signatures–the speaker of the Parliament took out more applications of signature withdrawal. The organizers of the press-conference pointed out that the uneven number of applications for and against the special meeting would make it impossible to call that special meeting.

The deputies reported that they would discuss the issue at the Monday session of parliament.

Deputy Speaker of the Parliament Albert Bazeyan assured that 19 deputies of the "Yerkrapah" deputy group offered their signatures in demand of the special session and none of them withdrew their signatures. He said that he was not in support of holding a special meeting–but felt that it was not the cancellation of the deal that should have been discussed but taking the brandy factory off the privatization list. Bazeyan said it was too late to discuss that matter.

The deputies which held the press-conference found it inadmissible that a factory worth $600-700 million dollars was sold for only $30 million. Vahagn Khachatrian said that it would be more correct to say that the factory was given as a gift–not sold.

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