Former Energy Officials Charged with Embezzlement

* $900,000 of stolen funds being returned to the state.

YEREVAN (Azg daily)–Armenia’s Prosecutor General’s office began criminal proceedings against several former Armenian Energy Ministry officials accused of embezzlement and misappropriation of state funds.

In essence–the prosecutor’s office approved a complaint brought forth by parliamentarian Arshak Sadoyan.

In a statement Sadoyan said that according to the official papers–more electric power was produced in Armenia in 1992-94–than in 1996-97–for which a large volume of heating oil and natural gas were imported. He claimed that–in actuality–the documen’s were forged and the resources were looted by the Energy Ministry.

Based on this statement–a criminal investigation was launched with inspections conducted at plants in Yerevan–Hrazdan–Vanadzor–and in Georgia.

The preliminary investigation revealed numerous violations–in particular as it concerned the activities of the Dvin plant–which sold $46,300,000 worth of various goods to Turkmen’stan between 1993 and 1997–in exchange for natural gas.

As a result–the company paid $172,000 to the state. Instances of bribery–embezzling resources–and not tax evasion were revealed in the Armenergo state company.

Former Deputy Minister of Energy Stepan Aslanian–Deputy Director of Armenergo Arshavir Martirosian and Chief Accountant Manuk Zohrabian were charged for receiving bribes.

Another inspection revealed that forged documen’s were signed for the receipt of 200 tons of heating oil in the Vanadzor thermal plant in 1994 and 1995–and $18,000 was stolen. This amount is now paid to the state budget. A total of $892,000 of compensation was paid to the state budget so far.

The prosecutor’s office vowed to continue the investigation.

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