Yerevan Mayor Hayk Marutyan announced on March 14 that there are several thousand square meters of privatized land in Yerevan’s public parks, with negotiations taking place with owners to exchange them with the same amount of land elsewhere in the city.
“People are coming who have privatized land of 2000, 3000 square meters in the public park. …. Realizing that I am decisive, our team is decisive, realizing that we do not pursue any interest other than community interest, many businessmen, say let’s do it this way, I give back this 2-3 thousand square meters to the community, you give me the same size of land somewhere else, we will build a building there. And we cooperate with them” Marutyan said.
Marutyan also stated that the municipality had previously auctioned green areas that were sold to non-random people at a cadastral price “10, 20, 30, 50 times cheaper than the market price”. “They purchased and left them like that. They didn’t even do construction activities. Years have passed, and only now are they coming to get construction permits” Marutyan said.
The Fact Investigation Platform tried to figure out what areas are referred to and who their owners are.
Privatized areas in public parks
The Municipality of Yerevan informed Fip.am that there are three such plots. We studied the cadastral database related to those areas.
Gay Ave. 19/72
It was sold to Stanislav Hovakimyan in December 2008 by Tigran Rafik Sargsyan for 270 million AMD ($ 875,000).
Hovakimyan is the father of former MP Arkady Hambardzumyan. Arkady Hambardzumyan was elected MP from the Rule of Law Party in 2003, and in 2007, 2012, and 2017 by the Republican Party list.
Stanislav Hovakimyan is the General Director of Derzhava CJSC. He and members of his family own a number of companies, including Slav Group CJSC, Derzhava-C CJSC, Slav Motors LLC, Autohouse LLC, Dilijan Health Resort CJSC, Slavmed Medical Center LLC and “Spitak Poultry Factory” LLC.
Hovnatan Str. 56/1
The largest of the privatized plots is located at 56/1 Hovnatan Street in the Malatia-Sebastia administrative district, in a park dedicated to World War II near the municipality.
The land area is 3,221 square meters. Today it is fenced with a stone wall, but there are no constructions. On the contrary, there are dozens of trees planted there. The land was acquired by Natalie Vartan Mnatsakanyan on June 2, 2016 for the purpose of building a residential house. Mnatsakanyan won the auction and paid 30,441,096 AMD (about $ 64,000 at the time).
In 2011 Natalie Mnatsakanyan co-founded Silver Glass LLC, which operates under the name of “Yunona” dry-cleaning service. Her mother, Eleanora Mnatsakanyan, is a shareholder of MAA Group LLC, which owns sovats.am Food Delivery Service, although it is officially registered as a real estate company. Eleanora Mnatsakanyan also owns Kamelia, a drug trading company.
Shiraz Str. 2/5
The third area of 2,000 square meters is located at 2/5 Hovhannes Shiraz street in Ajapnyak. The land is currently covered with grass and is not constructed.
The land was leased to Arman Mikayelyan for 25 years in March 2003. The auction commission set an annual rent amount of 1,758,000 AMD (146,500 AMD a month). According to the results of the tender, Mikaelyan was obliged to build a cafe and recreation area by December 2004 and invest 30 million AMD.
In April 2003, by the decision of Yerevan Mayor Robert Nazaryan, the land was alienated to Mikaelyan with a cadastral price of 1,723,080 AMD. Mikaelyan’s father, Manvel Mikaelyan, is a businessman. He owns “David 90” supermarket and gas station. Both are located on Shiraz Street.
Just days after the purchase, on April 29, 2003, Mikaelyan sold the land to Henrik Poghosyan for $ 27,000 (nearly 16 million AMD). In fact, Mikayelyan purchased the publicly owned land for 1.7 million AMD and sold it with a ten times higher price a few days later. In July 2003, the mayor of Yerevan granted Poghosyan permission to build a trade and service hall there.
On December 27, 2004, Henrik Poghosyan granted “free and indefinite” land use to Europe Ltd owned by Seryozha Manukyan until March 10, 2007, when he recovered the land and sold it to Vedi resident Robert Razmik Mkrtchyan for 140 million AMD.
On May 21, 2008, the latter sold the land to Yerevan resident Suren Levik Aghabekyan for 74.4 million AMD. Suren Aghabekyan is the brother of Sargis Aghabekyan, director of the Esko Concern, a real estate agency.
Just six months later, in November 2008, Suren Aghabekyan sold the land back to Robert Mkrtchyan, this time with a three times higher price – at 240 million AMD. To date, Mkrtchyan owns the land.
The lands have not been exchanged
On July 3, we were informed by Yerevan Municipality that “discussions are under way with land owners of lands at Shiraz Str. And Gay Ave. to provide areas of the same square meter in any part of the city as an alternative. “No final decision has been made on this regard yet,” the response said.
On September 19, we were told by the Yerevan Municipality that “there has been no land exchange as of now”.