Graffiti in Yerevan
|Other names||Ruben Hayrapetian|
Ruben Hayrapetian, a.k.a. Nemets (German) Rubo. Hayrapetian is the current Chairman of the Armenian Football Federation. MP (elected in 2003), former Prefect of Avan Community. Hayrapetian appears to be supported by the President’s office. Current business activities:
- Co-owner of Grand Tobacco
- Aragats textile production plant
- Harsnaqar hotel on Sevan shore
- Several gas stations
- Bjni Mineral Water?
- Other additional minor businesses
- 1 Bio
- 2 Former Armenian Football Chief Under Police Investigation
- 3 Lawyers, Activists Allege Police Cover-Up Of Yerevan Restaurant Death
- 4 Tycoon Denies Role In Severe Beating
- 5 Four Arrested Over Yerevan Restaurant Assault
- 6 Bjni mineral water plant auctioned off
- 7 Armenian Soccer Body Changes Logo After Uproar
- 8 Interview
Rouben Hayrapetyan was born on March 9, 1963 in Yerevan.
Mr. Hayrapetyan graduated with a degree in economics from the Yerevan Institute of National Economy in 1988.
From 1980-1982 he worked as a mechanic in the Almast Factory in Yerevan. From 1983-1985 he served in the Soviet Army. For the next three years he was a worker in Yerevan Food Complex # 7 and later, from 1988-1991, its accountant. From 1991-1993 he was the deputy head of the Haytskhakhot Complex and from 1993-1995 its chief engineer. From 1996-1999 he was head of Avan District Community and in 1998 he was the president of Haytskhakhot CJSC.
On May 25, 2003 he was elected to the NA from electoral district # 1 and he is on the NA Standing Committee on Financial-Credit, Budgetary and Economic Affairs. He is not a member of any faction and deputy group and has no political party affiliation.
Mr. Hayrapetyan is the President of the Football Federation of Armenia.
Mr. Hayrapetyan is married and has three children.
Former Armenian Football Chief Under Police Investigation
Դեկտեմբեր 13, 2019
Police raided on Friday the home of Ruben Hayrapetian, a controversial businessman who had close ties to Armenia’s former leadership, and companies belonging to him in an apparent criminal investigation into his commercial activities.
Officers of a feared police unit dealing with grave crimes spent nearly five hours searching Hayrapetian’s mansion in Yerevan. They refused to talk to reporters while leaving the villa with what appeared to be confiscated documents.
Also searched were a restaurant and several other businesses belonging to the once powerful tycoon who headed the Football Federation of Armenia (FFA) from 2002-2018.
A spokesman for the Armenian police told RFE/RL’s Armenian service that the raids were part of a criminal case opened by law-enforcement authorities. He refused to specify what Hayrapetian is suspected of, saying that the police will make a statement soon. No such statement was issued as of 8 p.m. local time.
Hayrapetian was reluctant to talk to journalists standing at the entrance to his sprawling compound in Yerevan’s northern Avan suburb when he approached and urged them disperse after the search. “They are not arresting me,” he said.
Asked what the police officers found in his house, he replied with sarcasm: “One Su-35 fighter jet, one T-90 tank and several BMP and BTR [armored personnel carriers.]”
Hayrapetian also advised the journalists to ask the FFA’s current deputy chairman, Armen Nikoghosian, about reasons for the criminal investigation.
“I honestly don’t know why he mentioned my name because I’m not a police or National Security Service chief,” Nikoghosian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service later in the day. He said he is not aware of any details of the inquiry.
According to unconfirmed media reports, the police suspect Hayrapetian of misusing FFA funds allocated for the construction of pitches and other football facilities in Armenia.
Other media outlets have claimed that the Armenian authorities are seeking to prevent the 56-year-old businessman from installing one of his friends as new FFA chairman during the federation’s upcoming congress. They say that the FFA’s acting chairman, Armen Melikbekian, is the authorities’ preferred candidate for the post.
Hayrapetian was forced to resign as federation head in September 2018 four months after the “Velvet Revolution” that toppled Armenian’s former leadership. He was replaced by Artur Vanetsian, the new head of the country’s National Security Service (NSS).
Vanetsian fell out with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and was sacked in September this year. He also resigned FFA chairman last month under apparent pressure from government officials and pro-government lawmakers sitting on the federation’s Executive Committee.
Hayrapetian, who is commonly known as “Nemets Rubo,” has long been dogged by controversy resulting from his reportedly violent conduct. In 2015, for example, he avoided prosecution despite admitting that he beat up another entrepreneur.
Hayrapetian strongly supported former President Serzh Sarkisian and represented the latter’s Republican Party in the Armenian parliament. He had to resign from the parliament in 2012 following a brutal attack on several army medics who dined at his Yerevan restaurant. One of them died while two others were seriously injured after arguing with men working at the restaurant.
Lawyers, Activists Allege Police Cover-Up Of Yerevan Restaurant Death
Lawyers representing the family of the late military doctor Vahe Avetian accused the Armenian police on Monday of deliberately botching a criminal investigation into his violent death at a Yerevan restaurant owned by a government-linked businessman.
One of the lawyers, Lusine Hakobian, said police investigators have glossed over important facts to clear the businessman, Ruben Hayrapetian, of any involvement in the June 17 assault on Avetian and his friends and colleagues.
Hakobian and another Avetian family attorney, Tigran Yegorian, have repeatedly demanded that Hayrapetian at least be treated as a suspect in the high-profile case. The police insist that they have no grounds to suspect six men arrested on assault charges of having acted on the tycoon’s orders.
All suspects are officially listed as employees of the Harsnakar restaurant. Hakobian claimed that in fact most of them worked as Hayrapetian’s personal bodyguards and escorted him on June 17. She rejected the authenticity of employment contracts purportedly showing that the arrested men worked as security guards at the restaurant.
“Knowing our criminal-oligarchic system, it is evident that without their master’s knowledge the bodyguards would not have done anything illicit,” the lawyer told a joint news conference with civic activists campaigning for a fair and objective probe of the 33-year-old doctor’s death.
Their campaign has involved a series of street demonstrations outside the now infamous restaurant, Hayrapetian’s nearby house and key government buildings. The protests forced the controversial tycoon to resign later in June as parliament deputy representing President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK). Still, he strongly denies ordering or condoning the brutal beatings that cast a renewed spotlight on the notoriously violent behavior of burly men working for the country’s influential “oligarchs.”
The campaigners on Monday also condemned the police inquiry and alleged that Hayrapetian had a hand in the violence. They claimed that the Armenian authorities are reluctant to hold him accountable because of a presidential election due in February.
“We have elections coming up and losing a person like Ruben Hayrapetian with such a financial and criminal network would be hard for the ruling regime,” one of them, Zara Hovannisian, said.
Hayrapetian, who also heads the Armenian Football Federation, has long faced opposition allegations of carrying out vote falsifications and bullying opposition proxies during national elections. He and the ruling HHK have always denied that.
Tycoon Denies Role In Severe Beating
Հրապարակված է՝ 19.06.2012 An influential businessman and parliament deputy close to the government on Tuesday strongly denied any responsibility for the severe beating of three men at a Yerevan restaurant owned by him.
The men, all of them military doctors, were hospitalized with serious injuries. One of them, Major Vahe Avetian, remained in critical condition on Tuesday. Avetian suffered life-threatening head injuries in a reported dispute with restaurant staff on Sunday.
Artak Bayadian, another doctor taken to a Yerevan hospital, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) that the violence was triggered by Avetian’s verbal argument with a waiter. Bayadian said he, Avetian and their three companions were told to leave the restaurant before being attacked by 10-15 other men. He said they were repeatedly punched and kicked.
Some Armenian media were quick to suggest that the attackers were security guards of the expensive restaurant belonging to Ruben Hayrapetian, a wealthy businessman affiliated with the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK). He is also the chairman of the Armenian Football Federation.
Hayrapetian has faced opposition allegations of politically motivated violence in the past and is also notorious for insulting journalists. The tycoon has been accused in some media outlets and online social networks of possibly sanctioning or even ordering the beatings.
Hayrapetian strongly denied those suggestions, urging the media to be “absolutely accurate” and not to “exploit” the incident. “My immediate work is confined to the National Assembly and the Football Federation,” he said in a statement. “Managing business structures, which were founded by me, belong to my family and employ hundreds of people, is not my immediate duty, and it is inadmissible to attribute everything happening there to me.”
“I sincerely and humanely feel sorry for the unacceptable incident,” added Hayrapetian. He pledged to “do everything” to help law-enforcement authorities identify and punish the culprits “regardless of whether they are security guards, waiters or do other work.”
The Armenian police said on Monday that they have identified a man who beat up the doctors. But nobody was arrested or formally charged as of Tuesday evening.
Four Arrested Over Yerevan Restaurant Assault
Հրապարակված է՝ 20.06.2012 Four men have been arrested in connection with the severe beating of three military doctors at a Yerevan restaurant belonging to an influential government-connected businessman, police said on Wednesday.
Ashot Aharonian, the chief spokesman for the Armenian police, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) that the detained suspects include two security guards, a restaurant manager and a waiter. It is not clear if they have been charged yet.
One of the guards, Garik Markarian, has been described by some media outlets as the man who inflicted severe head injuries on Vahe Avetian, a 35-year-old doctor hit hardest in the incident.
Avetian remained in what doctors at a Yerevan hospital described as extremely grave condition on Wednesday despite having undergone two brain surgeries.
The doctor visited the Harsnakar restaurant in the city’s northern Avan suburb on Sunday with four friends and colleagues. The latter say that they were attacked by at least a dozen men after Avetian argued with a waiter over the restaurant’s dress code. Two of them were taken to hospital with less serious injuries.
The incident has cast a renewed media spotlight on the notoriously violent conduct of burly men working for the country’s influential “oligarchs,” including Ruben Hayrapetian, the Harsnakar owner. Media commentators have attributed the severity of the assault to what they see as impunity enjoyed by those men and their powerful employers.
Hayrapetian, who is also a parliament deputy from the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), strongly condemned the incident but denied any responsibility for it on Tuesday. He pledged to assist in the criminal investigation conducted by the police.
The tycoon was conspicuously absent from a session of the Armenian parliament held on Wednesday.
Samvel Aleksanian, another government-linked wealthy parliamentarian and a friend of Hayrapetian’s, defended the fellow “oligarch.” “A bad thing occurred but why should Hayrapetian be blamed for that?” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) in the National Assembly. “I also have employees and relatives. Should I be held answerable for everything they do?”
Meanwhile, the Armenian Defense Ministry officially condemned the violence and expressed solidarity with its victims and their relatives. The ministry assured them that it is “not indifferent to impudent manifestations existing within our society.”
In a statement, the ministry also said it is closely monitoring the police inquiry and is “confident that those responsible for the incident will be strictly punished.”
Bjni mineral water plant auctioned off
by Armen Hakobyan
Published: Saturday February 21, 2009
Yerevan - Claiming that Bjni mineral water plant owed $13 million in environmental fees and fines, the Armenian government last year confiscated the company and placed it on the auction block for 4.3 billion AMD (about $14 million). Operations at the plant came to a halt on October 22, 2008. Its market share has been taken over by other mineral water bottlers.
The first auction did not yield any buyers, but on February 16, the company was successfully auctioned for 4.44 billion AMD.
Member of parliament Khachatur Sukiassian and his family have owned Bjni since 1997. Mr. Sukiassian, who helped bankroll the failed 2008 presidential campaign of Levon Ter-Petrossian, has been in hiding since the March 1 riots. He is wanted by police for attempting to usurp power. His supporters maintain that the confiscation of the company for failure to pay its taxes was politically motivated.
According to RFE/RL, Armenia's Service for the Mandatory Execution of Judicial Acts (SMEJA) initially refused to disclose the name of the buyer. It was later known that Ruben Hayrapetian, chair of the Armenian Football Federation, a member of parliament from the governing Republican Party of Armenia and a strong supporter of President Serge Sargsian, had purchased the company. The Sukiassian family intends to take legal action to annul the sale of the company.
Armenian Soccer Body Changes Logo After Uproar
October 10th, 2008
YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The Football Federation of Armenia (FFA) said on Wednesday that it has decided to change its new emblem widely criticized for not depicting Mount Ararat, a biblical mountain that has historically been the symbol of the Armenian nation but is now in eastern Turkey.
The FFA’s previous logo, which carried a picture of Mount Ararat, was dropped ahead of last month’s match in Yerevan between Armenia’s and Turkey’s national soccer teams that was watched by the presidents of the two neighboring states.
The controversial move prompted strong criticism from Armenian citizens and the Diaspora. Domestic political groups, notably the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, suggested that it was designed to please the Turks. ARF leaders cast doubt on the credibility of FFA assurances that there were no political motives behind the change of the logo emblazoned on the jerseys of national and youth team players.
Located in northeastern Turkey and visible from Yerevan and much of southern Armenia, Ararat has stood at the center of many Armenian kingdoms. The mountain and much of historic Armenian territory now considered Western Turkey, was forcibly seized from the first Republic of Armenia in the early 1920s, following a joint Turkish-Russian invasion that replaced the nascent republic’s government with communists who signed away much of Armenia’s territory guaranteed in the 1920 Treaty of Sevres.
The snow-capped peak, the legendary resting place of Noah’s Ark, is depicted in the center Armenia’s national coat-in-arms.
Ruben Hayrapetian, the FFA chairman who has previously dismissed the ARF’s criticism, said on Wednesday that the decision to leave Ararat out of the current logo was a mistake. “I apologize to the entire public for this real mistake,” he told reporters.
“We did not think that there will be such an uproar,” Hayrapetian said, adding that the FFA has already commissioned graphic designers to develop another Armenian football emblem. He said it will definitely carry an outline of Ararat.
“In the meantime, our national football teams will wear jerseys with the emblem of the Republic of Armenia,” the FFA’s executive director, Armen Minasian, told RFE/RL.
Both he and Hayrapetian insisted that the logo change had nothing to do with the Armenia-Turkey World Cup qualifier played in Yerevan on September 6. “We began the process of logo change last year before we knew that are going to play Turkey,” said Minasian. “There was never any deliberate effort to remove Ararat.”
An Interview with Ruben Hayrapetyan: "I was born to a well-off family"
13:01, September 8, 2012
What follows is a portion of an interview conducted by Nouvelles d'Armenie reporter Seta Mavlian with Ruben Hayrapetyan.
The 4 hour unique interview took place on August 11 in the Avan district of Yerevan, where Hayrapetyan lives and where his Harsanakar restaurant is located. The interview appears in french in the magazine but was later translated to Armenian. Nouvelles d'Armenie has allowed the Armenian media to freely reprint the interview.
Let's start at the beginning. What environment were you born and raised in?
I was born to a socially well-off family. In the early 1970s, my father managed two restaurants. They were good restaurants. One at the end of Ajarian Street and the other, the Grill Bar, in Nork. My father built them from scratch and ran them.
Where did your father get the resources for the restaurants?
I was seven in 1970. You'd have to ask him. All I know is that before 1970 my father was in the cargo transport business. It was a profitable sector. They would transport foodstuffs and stones on large lorries out of Armenia. My mother was a housewife.
Where does your family hail from?
We are from Avan. Some Avan residents came from Khoy (Iran). I tried to do the research but couldn't find whether my father's family relocated from Khoy or if they were locals. Nevertheless, Avan residents speak in the Khoy dialect. My mother is from the village of Akounq, near the town of Abovian.
How did you come by the nickname "Nemets Rubo?" They say your father was taken prisoner by the Germans during WWI.
That’s wrong. My father was born in 1939. The name comes from his uncle, my grandmother’s brother, who was conscripted into the war the same year my father was born. He served and was wounded. He came back with metal fragments still in his body. He then worked as a driver. Like all good drivers, he also worked on the vehicles. When he’d get under a truck, the fragments would move around and cause him pain. He’d then start cursing the Germans. . That’s how he got the nickname "Nemets". Later on, it passed down to the rest of us.
Did you attend a Russian or Armenian school?
An Armenian school in Avan.
Were you a member of the Young Communist League?
Yes, unfortunately. (He laughs) We all became members when we turned 15. Had I refused, they would have caused trouble for my father, even sending him to Siberia.
You worked in the Almast Factory from 1980-1981. You were about 17-18 years old. How did that come about?
During the Soviet era, if you weren’t accepted into university, you could work somewhere for a year and get it registered on your employment papers for your pension Later on, you could take the admission tests again.
Why weren’t you accepted?
There were so many students applying for openings at the universities; 500 applicants for just 25 openings. You had to wait in line to get into college just like waiting for bread or meat. You needed good grades.
What kind of factory work did you do?
I was a first class electrician at the Almast Factory in Yerevan’s Zeytoun district. The place produced saws. We would repair the damaged mechanical parts. The following year I got accepted at the institute.