Former Armenian Ambassador to the Vatican Mikael Minasyan, the son-in-law of the third president, recently made a video message and published “facts” accusing the authorities of doing illegal business at the expense of the image of the Republic of Armenia.
Recently, the Fact Investigation Platform referred to Minasyan’s allegations that the family of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan exports smuggled cigarettes, and we substantiated that there were 4 lies in the video message. Now let’s look at another video message about the illegal diamond business. In a video titled “The End of Lies – 4”, Minasyan accuses the authorities of importing diamonds from abroad, “armenianizing” them in Armenia, and engaging in the illegal business of exporting them to other countries in unprecedented volumes.
“International partners see that people are not idiots and have started asking questions to Nikol Pashinyan’s government. Where did the diamonds come from? How was the system created? Why was it not there before? How did you export diamonds worth 20 billion in those three months? By the way, what I’m telling you is in the state statistics,” the former ambassador said.
The Fact Investigation Platform checked the statistics cited by Mikael Minasyan and found out that it claims the exact opposite.
In order to understand to what extent Minasyan’s statement corresponds to the reality, we should look at the foreign trade database of the Statistical Committee.
There were more diamond exports before the Revolution
According to the Foreign Trade Database published by the Statistical Committee, about $ 9.5 million worth of diamonds were exported from Armenia in the first quarter of this year, which makes up about AMD 4.6 billion.
In the graph we see that this is the lowest index for the recent years. For comparison, $ 15.8 million worth of diamonds were exported in the same period last year, and $ 20 million worth in 2018. By the way, the data presented here refers to both processed and unprocessed diamonds.
However, Mikael Minasyan claims that AMD 20 billion worth of diamonds were exported from Armenia in the first quarter of this year, which makes up more than $ 41.5 million.
As we can see, diamonds with such volumes were not exported from Armenia not only this year, but also in the first quarters of the last 5 years. Moreover, during the previous government, particularly during Serzh Sargsyan’s tenure, the volume of diamond exports was much higher than today.
Irrelevant and mixed numbers
It is interesting that during Minasyan’s video message, excerpts are published from the “Main indicators of industrial organizations according to the five-digit classification of economic activity” issued by the Statistical Committee, which has nothing to do with the index of diamond export mentioned by Minasyan. Several other tables are also shown, some of which have nothing to do with diamond exports, and some are not even readable.
In his video message, Minasyan also talks about another economic indicator. “The indicator of economic exports was 8.7%, and, therefore it is very, very significant for our economy.”
It was also difficult to understand what the former ambassador meant by “economic export” because such a term simply does not exist, but when studying the video it becomes clear that Minasyan means the 8.7% increase in the volume of industrial production. This was probably the only indicator mentioned by Minasyan that refers to the first quarter of this year, but it also does not mean that the export of diamonds has increased.
TV5 Channel does not provide evidence either
During the main news program of May 19, TV5 Channel also referred to Mikael Minasyan’s video message.
In the report titled “Who Has the Diamond Hand? The country’s business reputation is endangered”, the authors and economic analyst Ara Martirosyan talk about the growth of diamond processing volumes and refer to the bulletin “Manufacturing of basic products in industrial organizations in natural terms” published by the Statistical Committee.
However, this document, run by the Statistical Committee, does not in any way prove Minasyan’s claim of AMD 20 billion worth of diamond exports, but only shows the volume of manufactired (not exported) goods by about 2,700 businesses during that period.
Thus, it can be stated that the figures published by Mikael Minasyan on the volume of diamond exports do not correspond to reality. Accordingly, it can be stated that the figures published by Mikael Minasyan on the cross-border illegal diamond business are not true either.