On September 5, 2008, the New York base International Court of Arbitration, attached to the International Chamber of commerce, named former ROA Minister of Nature Protection Vardan Ayvazyan, presently serving as President of the National Assembly’s Economic Affairs Committee, as a defendant in a case involving the issuance of mining exploration licenses that Hetq covered in detail at the beginning of this year.
For more information of the case in question, 14770/EBS, you can go to the Court’s website: www.iccarbitration.org.
At the core of the matter is the gold mine in Hankavan, Armenia. While serving as Nature Protection Minister, Vardan Ayvazyan issued exploratory licenses to two companies at the same time. The actual owner of one of the companies, Golden Ore, is Andranik Manukyan, former ROA| Minister of Transport and Communication, who now serves as a presidential advisor to Serzh Sargsyan. Shortly thereafter, and in a process that involved numerous violations of the law, the Ministry of Trade and Economic Development issued the company an operating license. In quick succession Golden Ore was then sold to GeoProMining Ltd, a diversified resources holding company headquartered in Moscow. Almost immediately this company obtained the Sotk and Meghradzor gold mines owned by Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal’s Ararat Gold Recovery Company. In a word, the transaction was a package deal.
Our informed sources tell us that the Hankavan gold mine was sold to the tune of $30 million and that the government didn’t receive one red-cent from the transaction. At least this is what the Golden Ore’s tax accounts show.
Along with Vardan Ayvazyan, three other citizens of Armenia were named as defendants – Mayren Batoyan, Edvard Djanibekyan and Yuri Lalazaryan.
What are the likely results from the Arbitration Court’s proceedings? Regardless of whether the Armenian citizens appear before the Court or not, the legal case will proceed and reach a verdict. If the Court’s verdict goes against the ROA citizens there will be penalties levied, they will encounter problems visiting those countries with whom the United States has mutual treaties and their bank assets and properties will be frozen. Without doubt, Vardan Ayvazyan is in the most vulnerable position given that he was a member of government and headed the body authorized to issue exploratory mining licenses. As a top-ranking official he may be considered “person non grata” by the United States and aligned nations and not allowed to enter their borders. Vardan Ayvazyan is the first high ranking Armenian official up till now to be called before the International Court of Arbitration as a defendant.
Regardless of whose support he enjoys within the ruling regime, Mr. Ayvazyan will have to obey the findings of the tribunal if it rules against him given that the ROA has officially agreed to obey and execute any and all decisions handed down by the International Court of Arbitration.