Monday, October 26, 2009

Airports, Fruits, Banks and Mail...

Ever since the Dutch head of the Armenian Postal Service (HayPost) was beaten up not once, but twice, and it seems "encouraged" to leave, I've been curious to find out who took over, especially since there were a number of rumors at that time. I checked their website, even, but did not find any useful information regarding my question. Lragir published a piece today about HayPost, so naturally I read it. The first helpful terms I came across were:
“Haypost Trust Management” company director Juan Pablo Gechidjian
so I googled Juan Pabldo Gechidjian. ALL of the information below was found through web research - which we all know is not completely reliable, and in some cases is completely false - I would very much appreciate any corrections, verifications, etc... That being said, it is at the least entertaining to follow the trails.

It turns out Juan Pablo Gechidjian is an Argentian Armenian, and is indeed the Company Director at HayPost. He is also the Executive Director of Armenia International Airport CJSC/Airport Director. He is also a Board Member of Converse Bank. He has also represented Advanced Global Investments LLC to Converse Bank, at least twice (6/29/07 and 6/5/08). According to European Banking Resources online website:
The bank was established in 1993 as a "North Armenian" shareholding bank. In 1997 it was reorganized as "Converse Bank" CJSC. In February 2007 "Advanced Global Investments" LLC, a US based company controlled by Eduardo Ernekian bought 95% of Converse bank shares. Remaining 5% of shares belong to Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin Catholicosate.
But let's go back a minute. HayPost company was taken over by Eurnekian Group in 2006. Eduardo Eurnekian is a very wealthy businessman from Argentina. He owns/directs Corporacion America, which has multiple sub-companies including: Tierras de Armenia (Hayastani Hogher), Fruitfull Armenia, Zvartnots Airport, and DutyFree and Unitec.
Martin Eurnekian (unclear if he is a relation) is the CEO of American International Airport, which is part of Corporacion America.
Matias Gainza Eurnekian, the nephew of Eduardo Eurnekian, is a Board member of Converse Bank (I think as of May 11, 2009). He is also the Director of Unitec (see above) which belongs to Corporacion American.
Continued googling found that Tierras de Armenia (see above) and Max Group ("owned by Harutiun Pambukian, a parliamentarian close to former President Robert Kocharian") were involved in a joint venture. ["The president of Max Group, businessman Harutyun Pambukyan. Pambukyan owns a poultry plant, restaurants, and other businesses. He was responsible for bringing to Armenia the offshore company, Midland Resources, which bought the Armenian electricity network. He is a shareholder in Midland." Hetq]

Why is this interesting to me? I'm not so sure myself. I am not trained or overly interested in international corporate law or business, and I definitely don't know what is considered just cold hard business, and what goes over that line. And I'm not against a successful company or individual owning multiple different businesses in different arenas - that's business. But it all seems pretty circular, somehow. Not to mention that I seem to remember that Eurnekian has been close with both Kocharyan and Sargsyan in the past, with multiple meetings. In fact, Kocharyan gave Eurnekian a medal. He has also been a large donor to the All Armenia Fund - which is great, except that over time concern has arisen that the Fund's accounting has become questionable.

So what's the issue, and what does this have to do with the Dutch? Well, after being beaten up twice (7/10/08 and 10/15/08), General-Director of HayPost CJSC Hans Boon left the country. Mr Boon gave an interview to HayInfo back in December of 2008. In this interview, he explains that a certain plan was laid out before HayPost, and certain criteria of advancement were to be met. Many of them were fulfilled, some above and beyond. Those that were not fulfilled were, he seems to be saying, because the Armenian side did not fulfill/delayed/did not follow up on its portion of some of the criteria, and even posed obstacles. This meant that in the end, some of the required conditions were not met.
The reason of change stems from the requirements from the side of the Eurnekian Group, which were presented at the end of January 2008 as a condition to invest in Postbank.... [] Certain elements have not been fulfilled as the environment (legal, regulatory) posed obstacles..[]. At the request of the Eurnekian Group at the end of August 2008, the role was gradually limited and leading to the complete withdrawal of the Dutch side in December 2008.
He ends the interview by explaining that the path the then current new management was taking raised many questions.

It seems to me that the Dutch were basically pushed out, by the Armenian side reneging on their part of the bargain, and quickly someone else came in. And that was Eurnekian. Interestingly enough, he was also one of the names at the bottom of the Who's Who of Diasporans who signed the Open Letter in support of the protocols, as did Charles Aznavour (who now has a museum in Yerevan and is an Ambassador), Hrair Hovnanian (of the Armenian Assembly), Ruben Vardanian (Well known Businessman in Russia) and Artur Chilingarov (polar explorer turned Russian politician), to name a few.

There are many more connections to be made, the more I dig, the more I search and google, the more connections and more questions. Many of those named above have started large non-profit funds and renovated schools, hospitals, roads, homes, etc in Armenia. It really seems they have done some incredible humanitarian work.

Now if someone could just help me understand the rest of it.

6 comments:

nazarian said...

It's just a small group of powerful people who want to control as much of the Armenian affairs as they can. That's human nature, I guess. The problem I have is that they usually do it illegally and sometimes through violence.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, your posting reads like sour grapes whining regarding a lost game of king-of-the-hill.

Other than 'Your mafioso is more powerful than my mafioso,' what is the point?

Anonymous said...

If someone controls the Post, Airport and a Bank in a country like Armenia that presumably creates a favorable mechanism for money laundering and movement of goods and etc... which may not have happened accidentally! no one is that naive to believe they are just a group of honest people so much loving and caring for Armenia, especially when you see how, if at all, these significant companies "develop" and "grow"..........

Anonymous said...

Why all the current attempts to normalize the lives of ordinary citizens of Armenia are doomed
Igor Petrov It's no secret that the public and socially important processes in Armenia, a good response not only in millions of Armenian Diaspora in Russia, but in general in Russia's society that many centuries of its history is intimately connected with Armenia. According to various estimates the number of Armenian citizens working in Russia, is about 800 thousand. The interests of the state in virtually all areas of the state bureaucracy replaced with selfish desires of senior officials created the unprecedented pyramid of organized crime, which completely dominated the law enforcement, justice system and parliament ...

Parallel, officially declared the fiscal system in the public system operates well-established system of shadow financial flows, far superior in terms of turnover formal budgetary system. We believe that with the beginning of his presidency Serzh Sargsyan also began a sharp insight into the higher governance structures of street criminals, which led to a significant increase in crime.

more: http://hyeforum.com/index.php?showtopic=25162

Anonymous said...

Why all the current attempts to normalize the lives of ordinary citizens of Armenia are doomed
Igor Petrov It's no secret that the public and socially important processes in Armenia, a good response not only in millions of Armenian Diaspora in Russia, but in general in Russia's society that many centuries of its history is intimately connected with Armenia. According to various estimates the number of Armenian citizens working in Russia, is about 800 thousand. The interests of the state in virtually all areas of the state bureaucracy replaced with selfish desires of senior officials created the unprecedented pyramid of organized crime, which completely dominated the law enforcement, justice system and parliament ...

Parallel, officially declared the fiscal system in the public system operates well-established system of shadow financial flows, far superior in terms of turnover formal budgetary system. We believe that with the beginning of his presidency Serzh Sargsyan also began a sharp insight into the higher governance structures of street criminals, which led to a significant increase in crime.

Recently, in Russia's press statement was made head of the Armenian National Club "Miabanutyun" Moscow, Smbat Karakhanyan, that Armenia lacks a truly national system, which, despite guiding the person would be able to protect both the national and state, territorial interests, and the interests of ordinary citizens. "The very power in the country by falsifying and military pressure from the assembled representatives of the oligarchs, criminals and foreign proteges. Of course, that these groups serve the interests of their masters, and they do not care about the problems of the majority of the population. Starting from the tradition of national interests, to the economic and financial fraud, including the artificial playing on the course drama and deception with the quality of gas supplied to homes for the sake of their factions. How can we assume that the top government owns about 85% of all assets and enterprises of the country, including illegal traffic, and neuchtenku and controls nearly 90% of financial flows. In this sense, it is easy to fate and the true purpose of interstate credits received. "The only effective resource with which the authorities decide both the political and economic issues in the country, is layed-out so far non-formalized group of representatives from criminal and formal power structures. Besides, all the sarcasm that is an informal association has adopted a worst methods of criminal lawlessness, says Karahanyan. Naturally, in such circumstances the words of the Armenian leadership on combating corruption and bribery, the majority of citizens, including officials of different ranks only cause anger and an ironic smile.

more: http://hyeforum.com/index.php?showtopic=25162

Anonymous said...

Yes, there were a group of managers, who destroyed bank by providing never-pay-back loans, they were Artak, Suren, and others. Only honest man was Ararat Ghukasian, former General Manager