On October 13, 1in.am published an article on the property owned by Hrayr Tovmasyan, President of the Constitutional Court. The headline “Hrayr Tovmasyan’s ‘Hidden’ Property” states that Tovmasyan’s declaration statement submitted to the Ethics Committee is “poor”, since a number of real estates directly or indirectly belong to the CC president.
According to 1in.am, Tovmasyan owns or uses two apartments and a parking lot on Buzand Street and the area on the 1st floor of the 8/1 building on Alek Manukyan Street. One of the apartments on Buzand Street and the area on Alek Manukyan Street are reportedly registered under the name of Tovmasyan’s wife’s sister (his sister-in-law) and her husband. The news website also provided some interesting details about acquiring these properties.
The Fact Investigation Platform decided to study the cadastral history of the real estate attributed to Tovmasyan in the publication of 1in.am to find out if they really belong to Tovmasyan and whether the details regarding their acquisition correspond to the reality.
Property declared by Hrayr Tovmasyan
Hrayr Tovmasyan served as Minister of Justice in 2010-2014. In 2014-2017 he was Chief of Staff of the National Assembly. On April 2, 2017 he was elected to the NA from the RPA National Electoral List. On March 21, 2018 he was elected President of the Constitutional Court by the National Assembly. Hrayr Tovmasyan submitted a declaration to the Committee on Ethics of High-Ranking Officials of the National Assembly after he became a member of the National Assembly in 2017, in which he mentioned two apartments, a private house and a garage. In his 2018 annual declaration statement, Tovmasyan noted that in 2017 he acquired three land plots, each with 700,000 AMD.
8/1 Alek Manukyan Street
1in.am reports that Tovmasyan registered the area of the first floor of the 8/1 building on Alek Manukyan Street in the name of his wife’s sister and her husband. Then, during his tenure as Minister, Tovmasyan “gave the area for rent to the Notary Chamber SNCO operating under the Ministry of Justice for a period of about two years”.
Alek Manukyan str. Building 8/1 was constructed by M. Housing LLC, founded by former Republican MP Melik Gasparyan, who died in 2009. In December 2006, Gasparyan’s daughter Ruzanna Gasparyan sold the first floor of the building for 52.4 million AMD ($ 144,000) to Volodya Martirosyan, director of the same company.
The latter sold the area to Russian citizens Rubik Norik Ghazaryan and his wife Sona Samad Khudaverdyan for just 3 million AMD ($ 8,100) in March 2009. Hrayr Tovmasyan was the authorized person of the seller. And the buyer is actually the sister of Tovmasyan’s wife, Lamara Samad Khudaverdyan. It is noteworthy that Martirosyan, who bought the land for 52.4 million AMD just three years ago, actually sold it to Tovmasyan’s relatives for a 17 times cheaper price.
The new owners, Hrayr Tovmasyan’s Russian-born sister-in-law and her husband, gave this area for rent to Yerevan resident Artashes Hambardzumyan for a monthly fee of 50,000 AMD in March 2010. The lease contract states that the area was 50-80% complete at that time. The contract was liquidated in February 2012.
According to the cadastral documents, on February 20, 2012, Tovmasyan’s friends gave this area for rent for 300,000 AMD a month to the Notary Chamber SNCO. It is noteworthy that Hrayr Tovmasyan was Minister of Justice at that time (in 2012), and the Notary Chamber is under the Ministry of Justice. In fact, the chamber leased an area affiliated with their “superior” Hrayr Tovmasyan. Tovmasyan even participated in the opening of the Notary Chamber building.
In April 2014, Tovmasyan resigned as Justice Minister. Months later, in October, the Notary Chamber left the area. Interestingly, as of August 2016, this area has been leased to Retail Farm LLC for 85,000 AMD per month, i.e. about 3.5 times less than the fee paid by the Notary Chamber.
First floor of 8/1 Alek Manukyan Street where Notary Chamber SNCO rented space
In response to 1in.am’s publication, Tovmasyan stated: “One can simply call the allegation of acquiring property in the name of a relative in 2006, 2009 stupid. What for?” But the CC President did not comment on why the Notary Chamber rented the land from his sister-in-law and why Tovmasyan was the authorized person.
Apartments 10 and 10/1 on 91 Buzand Street
The next real estate mentioned by 1in.am is the two apartments in the newly constructed 91 Buzand Street. They really belong to Tovmasyan and his wife’s sister, Sona Khudaverdyan. These apartments were acquired by Tovmasyan and his sister-in-law on the same day, December 25, 2013.
The apartment registered in the name of Hrayr Tovmasyan is 213.5 square meters. Tovmasyan acquired it for 83 million AMD ($ 205,000 at the time rate), i.e. 389,000 AMD ($ 960) per square meter. The apartment purchased under the name of Sona Khudaverdyan cost 27 million AMD ($ 66,700), i.e. 410,000 AMD ($ 1,013) per square meter.
It is noteworthy that according to the RA Statistical Committee, in December 2013, the average market price of one square meter of apartments in Kentron community of Yerevan was 428,000 AMD ($ 1,057). This is the average market price for the whole Kentron community, while this building is located in the very center of Yerevan and was built in 2012. Undoubtedly, it should have had a much higher price than the average market price.
Thus, the information in the 1in.am website about the real estate owned by Hrayr Tovmasyan and his friends is correct. The details of their acquisition are also true.
P.S. In response to the publication of 1in.am, Hrayr Tovmasyan noted that his wife’s sister’s family has not been living in Armenia since the late 1980s, and the apartment on Buzand Street next to his was bought upon his suggestion. The question arises how Tovmasyan’s sister-in-law, having lived in Alta for more than 30 years, leased the area belonging to her to the Notary Chamber at a very profitable price.