YEREVAN, June 5. / ARKA /. Georgia’s law-enforcement authorities will extradite an Armenian businessman, Ashot Sukiasyan, to Armenia, Armenia’s office of prosecutor general reported.
According to Armenian media reports, Ashot Sukiasyan was involved in a high-profile fraud case that sparked corruption allegations against former prime minister Tigran Sarkisian.
Ashot Sukiasyan was arrested at Tbilisi airport in early February after arriving from Turkey. He was charged by Armenian law-enforcement authorities with three counts of fraud stemming from allegations made by entrepreneur Paylak Hayrapetian, who claims that the suspect misappropriated most of a $10.7 million loan which he borrowed from an Armenian commercial bank to finance a business project in Africa proposed by Sukiasyan.
According to a story in the Armenian investigative publication hetq.am earlier this year, the embezzled sum was transferred to the offshore bank account of a Cyprus-registered company, Wlispera Holdings, allegedly co-owned by Sukiasyan, ex-prime minister Sarkisian and Archbishop Navasard Kchoyan, head of the Ararat diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church.
Sarkisian and Kchoyan denied the allegations saying they had no stakes in the company that was registered in their names in Cyprus without their knowledge. -0-