Ara Vardanyan

Hayastan All Armenian Fund Director Resigns After Embezzlement Comes to Light

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YEREVAN (Armenpress, RFE/RL) — Ara Vardanyan, the former executive director of the Hayastan All Armenian Fund tendered his resignation on July 9 to President Armen Sarkissian following his arrest on embezzlement charges.

He released a statement apologizing to all donors of the fund.

Vardanyan stepped down after authorities revealed he had been misappropriating funds from the charity organization for personal goals and even online gambling. He said he deeply regrets that he has unwillingly compromised the reputation of the Hayastan All Armenian Fund.

“Yesterday I tendered my resignation as executive director of the Hayastan All Armenian Fund, clearly realizing that my further tenure will damage the Fund’s reputation, which is inadmissible for personally myself”, he said.

“Dear people, I would like to apologize to all of you, to all donors of the Fund, small and big, pensioners and major philanthropists, representatives of local bodies of the worldwide Diaspora, all devotees of the Fund. All donations of the Fund had and have their addressed significance, which is the prosperity of our country, construction and reconstruction of schools, kindergartens, hospitals, roads, homes and cultural structures in Artsakh and Armenia. I thank the governments of Armenia and Artsakh for close cooperation, and all philanthropists and devotees for their practical participation in the [development] of our country,” he said.

Vardanyan was detained by national security agents on July 2 in suspicion of embezzling the fund’s finances. During interrogation, Vardanyan admitted to misusing the fund’s credit card for personal goals, including online gambling. He was placed under arrest but later released on a 1,000,000 dram bail.

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Sarkissian said that he believes that since the birth of the third Republic the Fund has implemented important and useful programs by uniting national and spiritual structures, philanthropists and hundreds of thousands of individuals. Therefore, the Fund has still a mission to conduct in the life of Armenia, Artsakh and Diaspora.

He had initially returned to work on July 6.

In the previous week, alone Vardanyan had transferred nearly 14,000,000 drams to online casinos from the fund’s credit card. The amount comprises nearly 130,000,000 ($270,000) in the period from 2016 to 2018.

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