On April 10, the Investigative Committee issued a statement, according to which it has been revealed that in 2017 former Minister of Culture had demanded from the director of the film “My Grandmother’s Hair” and received (through an intermediary) AMD 6.8 million from the money intended for the production of this film under the pretext of covering the costs of the participation of the Armenian delegation in the Cannes Film Festival.
The director of the film “My Grandmother’s Hair” is the head of the Pan-Armenian Federation of Film Producers, founder and director of “Parallels Film Production”, Hovhannes Galstyan, who had declared a hunger strike since the beginning of December, 2018 and had announced that in April, 2017 by the order of Armen Amiryan, then Minister of Culture, a part of the money intended for the film was temporarily transferred to the film commissioner of Armenia for other urgent expenses of the ministry provided that it would be given back in July. The money has not been given back, and, as a result, the film production plan has failed, and the production company has run into debts.
The film director’s demand was to provide funding from the Ministry of Culture to continue the shooting of the film.
In February 2019, the Ministry of Culture (Minister Lilit Makunts) made a statement on the issues related to the film “My Grandmother’s Hair”, calling on Hovhannes Galstyan to end his hunger strike and work in legal, equal and competitive conditions.
Armen Amiryan demanded about 6-8 million drams from the money intended for the production of the film and did not return it
Film director Hovhannes Galstyan told Fip.am that he has been raising the issue for two years now, and back then he even wrote an open letter to former Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan, and now, in cooperation with the investigative bodies, he will try to get that money back.
“I can only add that I have been recognized a victim in the case and I will fully cooperate with the investigative bodies. I am sure that all the money taken from the film “My Grandmother’s Hair” will be returned to the film, and I will be compensated for my time not working during these years” he said.
Hovhannes Galstyan mentioned that former Minister of Culture Armen Amiryan demanded about 6.8 million drams from the money intended for the production of the film.
“A preliminary investigation is underway. I would not like to go into other details. I can only say that I went to meet that request and gave the money, of course, on the condition that it would be returned. But in abuse of the mutual trust, that they only take it temporarily… Since the money was needed… During that time Armenia had to be properly represented at the Cannes Film Festival. The money was never returned. I was sure that it would be returned. Now I will provide maximum publicity, but no more than the investigative bodies will find expedient” he said.
It was not possible to contact former Minister of Culture Armen Amiryan. He is not in the republic. Later, however, Amiryan made a Facebook post in which, in fact, he denied the accusations against him, noting that there is no one who can say that he ever gave money to Armen Amiryan.
According to the Investigative Committee, the criminal case was sent to the Prosecutor’s Office with a motion to send it to the Special Investigation Service.
The prosecutor’s office told Fip.am that they had received the case only today, and it is just about to enter the preliminary investigation stage. After examining the case, the issue of sending it to the SIS will be decided.
By the way, unless the preliminary investigation has started, Armen Amiryan does not have any status and has not been interrogated.