|Birth date||29 May 1976|
Post-revolution criminal case
On April 15, 2019, corruption charges (embezzlement, fraud and abuse of power) were brought against Mihran Poghosyan, the former Head of the Service for the Mandatory Execution of Judicial Acts and a former Republican Party MP, who is currently in Moscow. According to the statement issued by the Special Investigative Service (SIS), while in office from 2008-2016, Poghosyan abused the power of his office for personal benefit. In particular, after becoming the head of the agency, Poghosyan appointed his driver and bodyguard to different positions within the Service, and despite the fact that the two never worked in those positions, they were paid a total of $91,000 in salaries. The statement also mentioned that, during his tenure, the Service purchased 32 cars from a dealership that is allegedly connected with Poghosyan, costing taxpayers an additional $41,000. According to the SIS, while in office, he embezzled a total of $132,000 in public funds. Poghosyan is also accused of failing to remit $1.2 million in taxes. He denies the corruption charges and characterized them as “political persecution.”
Poghosyan’s name has also been associated with the 2016 Panama Papers, when Hetq published an investigation claiming that Poghosyan owns three companies registered in Panama. Even though a criminal investigation was launched by the SIS at the time, the case was closed because of a lack of sufficient evidence linking Poghosyan with illegal activities. Following the Velvet Revolution, the case was reopened.
On April 19, 2019, Poghosyan was arrested in Russia at the request of Armenian law enforcement authorities. While in Russia, Poghosyan applied for political asylum but was granted a temporary residence permit. Following his arrest, a local court allowed the Russian police to hold him in detention for up to 40 days, pending a decision on his extradition to Armenia. Later, however, Russia refused to extradite him, citing sovereignty and national security concerns. The Armenian side had requested clarification, which has not yet been provided. As of November 2019, Poghosyan is no longer under house arrest in Russia.
Senior Official Denies Business Ownership
Sargis Harutyunyan 18.01.2012
The head of an Armenian state body enforcing court rulings on Wednesday implicitly denied assaulting one of his subordinates in 2010 and insisted that he has no extensive business interests.
Mihran Poghosian, who runs the Justice Ministry’s Service for the Mandatory Execution of Judicial Acts (SMEJA), risked losing his job after the Armenian government effectively confirmed the assault reports that appeared in the media.
Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian accused Poghosian of a “serious violation of ethical rules” and instructed then Justice Minister Gevorg Danielian to take disciplinary action against the SMEJA chief. Danielian was sacked in December 2010 because of apparently failing to do that.
Unlike the minister, Poghosian was not relieved of his duties. This fact was construed by commentators as further proof that the 35-year-old has powerful patrons in the country’s leadership.
Poghosian has not commented on the embarrassing affair until now. “I don’t think that a state official has the right to comment on the prime minister’s statement, even if I don’t agree with it. I stress, even if I don’t agree,” he told journalists on Wednesday.
Asked to clarify whether he denies assaulting another SMEJA official, Poghosian said, “Let’s refrain from comments and be open to each other.”
Poghosian joined the SMEJA in 2007 and became the head of the law-enforcement agency a year later. Armenian newspapers have linked with a number of lucrative businesses, including the Fresh supermarket chain in Yerevan. Another company allegedly owned by him and called Katrin was accused by pro-opposition publications of buying votes for Serzh Sarkisian during the February 2008 presidential election.
“I started doing business in 1995 and founded the firm Katrin which achieved quite serious successes,” said Poghosian. “But after I was appointed as deputy chief of the SMEJA, I sold or abandoned, so to speak, those businesses.”
“I’m a state official and I have had no connection with any business since 2007,” insisted Poghosian. He claimed that he now owns only properties leased by Katrin and Fresh stores.