FIP.am has studied the declarations of Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Kamo Tsutsulyan and found a number of inconsistencies and inaccuracies. In addition, our team visited Tsutsulyan’s native town Ijevan and studied the current status of the facilities belonging to him in the area.
Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Head of the Rescue Service, Kamo Tsutsulyan has held various positions in the law enforcement system for more than 20 years. Starting from 2017, he has submitted to the Corruption Prevention Commission (then the Ethics Commission of High-Ranking Officials) property and income declarations as provided for by law.
The Fact Investigation Platform revealed that there is inconsistency in Tsutsulyan’s declaration regarding the property alienation data, and besides, Tsutsulyan gave one of his real estates to the management of another person, failing to mention it in the declaration.
Why declare when you can hide?
Thus, in the 2021 declaration, Tsutsulyan declared 6 units of real estate as of the beginning of the year. However, in the same declaration, he stated that as of the end of the year one of the land plots did not belong to him anymore.
By the end of the year, the real estate was reduced to 5 units. Despite the fact that information on real estate acquired or alienated during the year should be available and visible, information on alienation is protected (not visible) on the Corruption Prevention Commission website.
The Corruption Prevention Commission promised to provide a reasoning, but in the end there was no response from them.
We considered the possibility that an error may have been made when filling out the declaration, and the information on real estate sold during the year was simply not reflected in the declaration due to technical issues.
However, according to the information received from the Cadastre Committee in February of this year, there are 6 units of real estate owned by Tsutsulyan.
This means that the deputy minister did not declare one of the land plots owned by him, claiming it has been sold, although, as we mentioned, the information about the sale is protected on the website of the Corruption Prevention Commission.
Besides, Tsutsulyan’s declarations also lack the 67% share he has in “Kentsaghspasarkum” LLC. The director of this company is Tsutsulyan’s wife, Ashkhen Margaryan. “Hetq” Investigative Journalists also recently published an article about this.
What do Tsutsulyan’s assets do in their spare time?
As we mentioned, according to the response received from the Cadastre Committee, Kamo Tsutsulyan has 6 units of real estate, all of which are located in Ijevan and neighboring villages. In the case of all 6 units, it is mentioned that the right to lease is not registered, therefore, according to official documents, they are not leased to anyone. The Fact Investigation Platform team visited the addresses in Ijevan and nearby villages to find out whether the real estate properties of the mentioned addresses are being used for any purpose, particularly for profit.
After a long search, we were able to find one of Tsutsulyan’s real estates in Gandzakar, which was an operating small restaurant. The difficulty in locating the property was that the address mentioned in the Cadastre documents was unknown both to online search engines and to the residents of the village. Although it is within the boundaries of the village according to the documents, in reality, it is located on the M4 highway, quite far from the village.
At the time of our visit, the food facility was open, but there were no visitors. We asked the employees whether it is the “Kamo’s place”, and after receiving a positive answer, we asked for the Taxpayer Identification Number of the legal entity providing the service, which every business owner is obliged to post in a visible place. The employee called the director, who for a long time refused to show the TIN, although the taxpayer identification number not only is not confidential information, but must also be posted in a visible place.
The director did not deny that the real estate belongs to Kamo Tsutsulyan, but claimed that Tsutsulyan has absolutely no income from it, and he gave the facility to him so that he “takes care of it, and the condition of the buildings does not deteriorate“. According to the director, the facility has belonged to Tsutsulyan for a long time, for 20-30 years, and back then he did not hold any position yet. However, according to the declaration, Tsutsulyan bought the 2 units of real estate in question in 2019.
The selling party was Gandzakar municipality. Tsutsulyan bought it through auction.
“Vahagn Manvelyan Vardan” PE, which was registered on January 27, 2022, conducts business activity there. According to the director’s assurance, he is a friend of Tsutsulyan’s son, and that is why Tsutsulyan gave him the facility free of charge.
As we mentioned, according to the operator of the food facility, it has been owned by Tsutsulyan for dozens of years. A Google Maps photo taken in August 2018 also proves that the food facility existed before Tsutsulyan acquired it. And since it is known in the area as “Kamo’s place”, it probably actually belonged to Kamo Tsutsulyan before the ownership was formalized with documents.
Thus, it should be noted that the head of the Rescue Service, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Kamo Tsutsulyan concealed the real estate he owns, and although the food facility owned by him currently seems to be operated by another business owner, there is no documentation to substantiate that claim.