YEREVAN—Armenia’s Chief compulsory enforcement officer—the country’s judicial enforcer–Mihran Poghosyan has resigned after his name appeared in the recently released trove of documents, known as the Panama Papers, revealed that he had offshore holdings.
Earlier this month, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and the German Sueddeutsche Zeitung received 11.5 million leaked documents from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, which for decades facilitated the creation of offshore holdings to hide the wealth of the world’s elite, among them leaders and high-level politicians and businesspeople.
One of the first reports published by ICIJ was the revelation that Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev’s family had stashed billions of dollars in offshore companies with the help of Mossack Fonseca.
Yerevan-based hetq.am, an ICIJ partner publication, first published the findings about Poghosyan’s offshore holdings, prompting a police investigation into allegations revealed in the Panama Papers.
In a brief announcement issued by the Service for Mandatory Execution of Judicial Acts, which works within Armenia’s Justice Ministry, Poghosyan, who has publicly denied the allegations, announced his resignation.
“My name has recently surfaced in the publications on Panama offshores. I regret that my name appeared along with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s family, which has really appropriated millions of dollars. I find it unacceptable that I might serve a reason for any civilizational parallels between my country and authoritarian Azerbaijan. That’s why I have filed my resignation today. I’ll publicly respond to the publications of the Panama Papers without any state levers at my disposal,” Poghosyan said in his announcement.
Hetq.am’s investigation revealed that Poghoyan has the exclusive right to manage Swiss bank accounts of two of those firms. The investigation also traced their links with a Yerevan-based real estate agency that was awarded a major Armenian government contract last year.
In another SMEJA announcement on April 7, Poghosyan said that revelation “does not correspond to reality.” The agency’s press office even accused “some media outlets” of waging a smear campaign against Poghosyan.