YEREVAN—The Turkish-born pro-Azerbaijani lobbyist Kemal “Kevin” Oksuz, who was arrested in Armenia last month on a United States warrant is being investigated for tax evasion in Armenia.
Oksuz, who established a tourism and event planning business called The Sena Group in Armenia in September, 2017 is being investigated for tax fraud in Armenia according to the Prosecutor General’s office, which responded to inquiries from Armenpress published on Friday.
“Within the framework of the case authorized Armenian bodies are entitled to carry out investigative actions,” the Prosecutor General’s office said. The criminal investigation was launched under paragraph 1, Article 205 (tax evasion) of the Criminal Code. If found guilty, Oksuz might face up to five years in prison or major fines.
Oksuz is wanted in the United States on charges of perjury and misappropriation of funds, following an investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics, which launched an investigation into allegations that he secretly was paid $750,000 by the Azerbaijani state-run oil company SOCAR to secure the participation of members of Congress in a conference in Baku in 2013. The Washington Post reported about the matter in 2015, saying that 10 members of Congress, their spouses and staff were lavishly hosted by Azerbaijan. Oksuz failed to report the transaction.
According to the Armenpress investigation, Oksuz has exercised his right to retain an attorney.
“This is the period when authorized bodies of the United States can file a motion for extradition for criminal prosecution,” the Prosecutor General’s Office said, adding that it cannot specify an extradition date because it has not received such a motion. Prosecutors explained that in the event of receiving a motion, a judicial process must take place, which includes Oksuz’s right to appeal.
“According to the copy of the identification document of Kevin (Kemal) Oksuz currently available at the Prosecutor General’s Office, the latter is a US citizen,” the Prosecutor General’s Office told Armenpress.
Many questions still remain in this case, including how a known pro-Azerbaijani lobbyist was allowed to enter Armenia and subsequently received the necessary permits to operate a business.
Asbarez is awaiting responses to its inquires to relevant government departments.