Russian businessman Levon Markos sent an open letter to Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, in which he tells how the Armenian authorities took away his property. At the beginning of 2000s, the businessman invested about $300 million in the economy of Armenia, buying up, at the request of the president, bankrupt enterprises. However, then his entire business was taken away, and he himself was put on an international wanted list.
‘At the beginning of 2000s, then-President Robert Kocharyan, you (then the Armenian defence minister and secretary of the Security Council) and the Chairman of the Armenian Central Bank Tigran Sargsyan, having played on my patriotic feelings, decided to involve me in saving the Armenian economy.
You personally came to Moscow with an offer to buy some Armenian factories, plants and other enterprises that had actually ‘gone to the bottom’ and did not represent any economic interest. In addition, you persuaded me for a long time, almost begged to acquire the bankrupt ‘Credit-Yerevan’ bank. All this was motivated by the fact that ‘the country’s budget is empty and requires financial income,’ says an open letter from the businessman published in the Armenian media.
Levon Markos notes that at one time he believed Serzh Sargsyan and decided to invest considerable money in the Armenian economy. To do this, he even had to curtail some of his promising and very competitive assets in Russia, and among them, in particular, the network of petrol stations ‘Sretenka-Petroleum,’ covering about 25 filling stations in Moscow alone.
‘In addition, I took large loans in Russian banks and invested all these significant funds in the Armenian economy. Because I sincerely wanted to help my homeland, whivh was in a difficult situation. Trusting you and taking your promises at the surface value, I acquired in Armenia a number of enterprises and facilities that had gone bankrupt and did not represent any economic interest. In addition to the ‘Credit-Yerevan’ bank, according to your recommendations, I bought: Sisian stone processing plant, Kapan Copper-Molybdenum industrial complex, Basalt Jrvezh OJSC, Agreenex CJSC, Hrazdan greenhouse complex, Sevan Motel complex, Intermotor Armenia (in 2002 this company was the official distributor of Mercedes Benz in Armenia), Zepur beauty salon. And long before that, I already owned three markets in Yerevan: Yerevan Market N1 LLC (near GUM, now ‘Tashir’); LLC Yerevan market N2 (Covered market on Mashtots avenue); LLC Yerevan market N7 (in the 3rd Nork massif). I did not hide that I came to Armenia seriously and for a long time and intended to develop a diversified business. Based on the above-mentioned and a number of other industrial facilities, I developed several promising industrial projects. Their total value was estimated by independent Moscow auditors at $300 million. These projects could give a serious impetus to the economic development of Armenia. And some of them came to the very start. However further business did not move. No specifics, only soap bubbles and empty words,’ says the letter.
The businessman notes that, having invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the Armenian economy, including a certain ‘stabilisation deposit,’ he incurred huge losses and was forced to deal with local judicial executors.
‘You acted dishonestly, Sargsyan. You deceived me: in the name of, so to speak, ‘salvation of the Motherland,’ you palmed off on me the bankrupt ‘Credit-Yerevan’ bank, from which at that time everyone was pumping money. The enterprises that I acquired you took away illegally, in a raider’s way, seized them and gave to your friends: Samvel Aleksanyan and Gagik Khachatryan. By the way, I have information that Aleksanyan and Khachatryan have repeatedly stated in their circles that they transfer money and incomes from my objects to you for public needs, and you put them in your pocket. What is the result in the end? The result is that for more than a decade and a half you have illegally appropriated the proceeds from my objects that were banditly captured by your lieutenants: Lfik Samo, Black Gago and others,’ complains the businessman.
In the end, a criminal case was initiated against Levon Markos and he was put on the international wanted list. However, the investigative authorities of the Russian Federation, having thoroughly studied the materials of the case for several years, came to the conclusion that there was no crime in the actions of the businessman.
‘Today many compatriots turn to me, who tell with pain and bitterness about the lawlessness and arbitrariness that are happening in Armenia. The corruptional-raider system you have built up continues its black business. In recent years, your team, in fact, has robbed 34 large Armenian businessmen. An approved scheme is used: first, people ‘for the sake of the Motherland’ are cheated out of large amounts of money, and then accusations are made against them in order to remove them from business, squeeze them out of Armenia, and misappropriate the ‘sold’ objects for themselves, as well the money paid for them. These same businessmen repeat exactly the same story, like the one that you, Robert Kocharyan and Tigran Sargsyan made to me. That’s how you and your ilk make for yourselves multi-billion dollar fortunes in mendicant Armenia,’ says the letter.