Persons illegally exploiting gold deposits in Karabakh put on int'l wanted list
BAKU, Azerbaijan, Nov. 2
Those persons who are illegally exploiting gold deposits in Karabakh have been put on the international wanted list, Trend reports referring to the Prosecutor General's Office of Azerbaijan.
On Oct. 21, 2015 and March 30,03.2018 criminal proceedings were instituted by the Investigation Department of the Prosecutor General's Office of Azerbaijan under Articles 192.2.3 (illegal entrepreneurship) and 318.2 (illegal crossing of the state border) of the Criminal Code with regard to illegal entrepreneurial activity of foreign citizens of Armenian origin in the occupied territories of Lachin, Kalbajar districts and other occupied districts of Azerbaijan, resulting in gross violations of ecology and subsoil use.
One of these criminal cases was related to Vejnali village, Zangilan district, which was occupied and recently liberated as a result of successful operations of Azerbaijani army.
Thus, during the investigation, based on the decision of the Investigation Department of the Prosecutor General's Office, it was determined by the Azerbaijani Ministry of Taxes that “Base Metals” Closed Joint-Stock Company, a branch of the Vallex Group of Companies officially registered in the Swiss Confederation, earning income from non-ferrous metal deposits during 2009-2017 in Vejnali village of Zangilan district made illegal profits in total of 301.918 million manat ($177.5 million).
Vartan Sirmakes, a financial investor in the Vallex Group, a citizen of the Swiss Confederation, and its head Valeriy Mejlumyan, as well as Arthur Mkrtumyan, CEO of Base Metals CJSC, in connection with the above-mentioned criminal facts, were charged under the above indicated articles of the Criminal Code. By the relevant court decisions they were declared internationally wanted in absentia by the investigative body.
In order to clarify the amount of damage caused to the state and citizens of Azerbaijan and to determine other circumstances relevant to the investigation necessary investigative actions, as well as an on-site inspection are carried out by the prosecution authorities at the area where the gold deposits in Vejnali village, liberated on October 30, 2020, have been exploited for many years.
Also, the Prosecutor General's Office of Azerbaijan addressed the competent authorities of the Swiss Confederation to provide international legal assistance in order to carry out the necessary investigative actions in the criminal case.
The Azerbaijani Prosecutor General's Office states that within the framework of international law and based on national and international law all possible measures will be taken to impose sanctions on individuals and legal entities engaged in illegal economic and other activities in the occupied and already liberated territories of Azerbaijan.