Law 12:36 27/07/2022 Armenia

Judge presiding over ZCMC case under pressure – Pastinfo

Judge Anahit Tumanyan, who is presiding over the Zangezur Mining vs. Zangezur Copper-Molybdenum Combine (ZCMC) case, is facing pressure, Pastinfo reports, citing its sources.

“She is not only threatened with possible punitive measures, but also being blackmailed. The female judge is threatened with the disclosure of information concerning her personal life as well as the release of a video recording, which could also affect her family relationships,” the media outlet says.

Former Russian Health Minister Mikhail Zurabov, who owns 12.5% of the ZCMC shares, sued the mining giant, asking the court to invalidate the sale of its 60% shares to Russian billionaire Roman Trotsenko’s GeoProMining Gold.

On September 30, 2021, Industrial Company JSC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Trotsenko's GeoProMining, mysteriously acquired 60% of the ZCMC shares and promptly donated a quarter of that stake to the Armenian government. The granted 25% of the shares make up 15% of the ZCMC equity. Trotsenko’s company acquired the shares immediately after they were unfrozen by an Armenian court.

The judge was expected to issue a ruling in the case last week, but it was postponed.

Pastinfo says the government experts studied the court case and concluded that the Zangezur Mining's claim was well grounded, while any meddling in the case would have negative consequences both on the investment environment and in international courts, where the government is highly likely to lose huge sums. Nevertheless, Roman Trotsenko’s lobbyists seem to have won the debates, and it was decided to force the court to dismiss the lawsuit at all costs.”

“To our knowledge, the judge has been warned that there is an intimate video the release of which is not in her family's interests. Instead, she has been assured that if she rules in favor of the government, they will forget not only about the tape, but also will help her promote and make it to the Supreme Judicial Council,” Pastinfo says.

“As reported earlier, a top American official urged Nikol Pashinyan "not to flirt" with oligarch Roman Trotsenko, who is among those sanctioned by the U.S. But in recent years, Trotsenko and a number of senior Armenian officials have been linked by various ties, the severance of which seems to frighten officials, and they are trying to safeguard the 2021 corrupt deal at all costs. Whereas, the government, according to our diplomatic sources, has been warned that a number of American and European institutions are monitoring Trotsenko's move to take over Armenia's mining sector.

“The much-debated court case is in fact about "screwing" the minority shareholder of the Zangezur Copper-Molybdenum Combine and taking away their business. And the outcome of the case is a benchmark, as foreign experts say, which would make it clear to European and American investors whether a number of vital rights of minority shareholders are protected or not.

“With regard to the other minority ZCMC shareholder, the government, which is represented by the Armenian National Interests Fund, as we have already reported, its participation in the management of the combine is an imitation. At least, we have not received any evidence to the contrary from ANIF.

“Actually, in the light of the above said, "Don't flirt with Trotsenko" has much deeper meaning, while "flirting" may have much worse and far-reaching consequences, as, under Nikol Pashinyan’s rule, the attitude of the oligarch of Russian origin towards a minority shareholder of the ZCMC and ignoring their legal interests, from the perspective of foreign investors, in particular American and European, is of fundamental importance in terms of ensuring their own business interests in the Republic of Armenia and that's where the Shoe pinches,” the media outlet wrote.

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