Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan posted a note on his Facebook page on November 25, 2019 expressing concern over the abundance of worn out skeletons of many cards and offered citizens to hand them over to Metexim LLC as a scrap metal.
Metexim is owned by well-known businessman Mikhail Harutyunyan, who also has close connections with former President Serzh Sargsyan.
The Harutyunyan family owns a number of companies, some of which are large taxpayers.
Among them are “Mikmetal” and “ASKE Group” companies engaged in construction and heavy industry. Meanwhile Mikhail Harutyunyan’s son, Vahan Harutyunyan, was a Republican MP in the National Assembly of the sixth convocation.
By the way, Mikhail Harutyunyan is the uncle of the former head of Armenia’s Compulsory Enforcement Service of Judicial Acts (CESJA) Mihran Poghosyan, who is currently wanted on criminal charges.
The Fact Investigation Platform has decided to find out whether there is another company besides the Metexim mentioned by the Prime Minister, which also accepts scrap metal, or is it exclusively Metexim that carries out such activity in Armenia?
It is noteworthy that according to the information received from the State Revenue Committee (SRC), there are 181 entities engaged in wholesale trade of waste and scrap of ferrous and non-ferrous metals.
Fip.am contacted Prime Minister’s spokesman Vladimir Karapetyan (at the time of the inquiry, the latter was not relieved of the post of Prime Minister’s Spokesman) to find out why Nikol Pashinyan had urged citizens to turn to this exact company to hand over old car skeletons.
“What is there to answer? I don’t understand. He made that decision to mention that company because it is one of the most notable and effective structures on the market. What should I answer? The name of one of the companies was mentioned, that is the answer, ”Karapetyan said.
Prime Minister’s now former spokesman then added: “There was no deliberateness, the same way he could have mentioned any other company that can recycle and do this kind of job. This company is one of them that can process the metal. Not all companies can process such complicated constructions and rusty car bodies.”
The Fact Investigation Platform tried to find out if the entities listed in the SRC list also accept car bodies. However, despite the large list, some companies had either shut down or there was no open source information about them.
However, the Fact Investigation Platform eventually managed to get in touch with several companies that accept scrap metal․
A representative of one of the companies, Edmet LLC, told us that their company is also accepting bodies of junked cars as scrap metal. A representative of another company, KAP CJSC, also stated that they accept car skeletons.
“We were also surprised by the Prime Minister’s call, as it once again advertised the company that has absolute monopoly in the market, while the small business doing the same thing ended up in a difficult situation. Unlike Metexim, a scrap metal company that takes its scrap metal to a recycling plant owned by the same owner, the small ones do not have that opportunity, and as a result we find ourselves in a more difficult situation.”- mentioned the representative of KAP CJSC.
In fact, the Prime Minister urged citizens to apply to a company that is not only affiliated with the previous authorities but is a monopoly entity in the market. And given the new government’s anti-monopoly statements, this appeal becomes even more obscure.