According to Datalex information portal, Energo-Star, a company affiliated with Artsakh officials, has filed a lawsuit against the Armenian government and acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, demanding to be paid AMD 8 billion 740 million in damages. The small hydropower plant built in the Kashatagh region of Artsakh was lost due to the war.
Energo-Star: The business of officials’ wives
Donara Kasyan, the wife of Vladimir Kasyan, a member of the Free Homeland faction of the Artsakh Parliament, former head of the Shushi administration, and Angela Asryan, the wife of Sergey Grigoryan, the special envoy of Artsakh President Arayik Harutyunyan, founded Energo-Star in 2017. According to the electronic register of legal entities, each of them has a 50% share in the company.
Until June of this year, the director of the company, who is the plaintiff, was Benjamin Balasanyan, a close friend of Vladimir Kasyan. In June, Stepanakert resident Davit Hakopov became the director of “Energo-Star”. In 2017, Donara Kasyan, together with Arman Hakobjanyan, the son of the former Minister of Urban Development of Artsakh Marat Hakobjanyan, founded “Tutkhan-HPP” LLC, where he had a 33% share. However, no other information is available about this hydropower plant.
Public Services Regulatory Commission of Artsakh issued a license to “Energo-Star” in 2018. the license is due to expire in 2035. The hydropower plant was called “Hochants-3”. It was located on the Hochants River in Kashatagh region, in Drakhtadzor community. Hochants is one of the largest tributaries starting from Hakari river, its length is 63 kilometers. The installed capacity of the hydropower plant was 3,654 megawatts. The press referred to the company at the beginning of 2018, when it turned out that the pipelines located in Ayntap community of Ararat Province were being dismantled and taken out of the community territory. The representative of the cargo transportation company said that “Energo-Star” had a pipeline procurement contract with “Nairit” plant.
Starting from April of this year, the representatives of “Energo-Star” started preparing the lawsuit, which was returned several times due to technical errors. The first trial is scheduled for September 23, 2021 in the Administrative Court, and the judge is Ruzanna Azroyan. “Datalex” does not mention the name of the lawyer representing the plaintiff.
Vladimir Kasyan: Let them be equally held accountable
The Fact Investigation Platform contacted General of the Police Sergey Grigoryan, the representative of Arayik Harutyunyan, to find out details about the lawsuit filed by the company belonging to his wife. He first asked why we are interested in that case, then said, “the case, in general, is related to the loss of the hydropower plant.”
“I do not know many details, the lawyers are in charge of it. Contact the lawyers who deal with it.I can say something, and it may turn out wrong,” Grigoryan said, refusing to answer any other questions.
Artsakh MP Vladimir Kasyan advised us to contact lawyers. “I cannot answer. The HPP is in the hands of the enemy. We have made so much investment, now it has passed to them, and we have been left with … “, said Kasyan.
According to him, they had got a big loan for the hydropower plant. In addition, more than $ 2 million had been invested. To the question why the Armenian government was involved in this case, Kasyan answered with another question. “Didn’t the government guarantee that we could build HPPs there?” To the other question why the Artsakh government and the president are not respondents, Kasyan said “Let them be equally held accountable”, then advised to ask all the other questions to their lawyers.
It was difficult to find the representative of “Energo-Star”, who preferred to remain anonymous. However, we can see from the documents submitted to the court that the notice address of the plaintiff is Yerevan, Charents 1, Office 101. There are several lawyers working at this address. One of them, Narek Khachikyan, said that the plaintiff’s representatives were his colleagues. “My colleagues are involved in the case, but they do not want to comment. It is not expedient to provide any information, even information on who is involved. They do not want anything to be public,” Khachikyan stated. The Fact Investigation Platform revealed that the plaintiff’s representative in this case is lawyer Gnel Mughnetsyan, who only said that the client’s demand is that no details of the case be provided, except for what is provided in “Datalex”.
Before the war, “Energo-Star” CJSC was on the list of 300 largest taxpayers in Artsakh. According to open source data, in the first half of 2019, the company paid AMD 10.3 million, and in 2020 – AMD 58.7 million. The lion’s share of this amount was paid by the company before the war.
This is not the first case when businessmen sue the government for damages caused due to territorial losses in the war. The Fact Investigation Platform referred to another case when “Zod Wind” CJSC, which operates in Sotk, filed a lawsuit, demanding compensation from the Armenian government for the damage suffered by the company in the amount of $ 5 million. The trial is in progress.