YEREVAN (A.W.)—Vahram Mirakyan, a businessman who helped end a longtime monopoly on the import of bananas to Armenia, said his warehouse refrigerators were attacked on Aug. 10.
According to RFE/RL’s Armenian service, Mirakyan said an unknown assailant poured acid on the refrigerator compressors of the warehouses where bananas imported by his company are kept.
“If the refrigerator had stopped working at night, 20 tons of produce would have perished within an hour,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service. Mirakyan alerted the Armenian police about the incident and will determine the extent of the damage after a police inspection.
According to Mirakyan, no other equipment was damaged, and none of his produce was stolen. He said he presumes the attack was the work of those who wish that he no longer import bananas into the country.
For several years, Armenia’s banana imports were effectively monopolized by the Katrin Group, which is said to be controlled by Major General Mihran Poghosyan, Armenia’s former Chief Compulsory Enforcement Officer. Poghosyan resigned last year after being accused of having secret offshore accounts, exposed by the Panama Papers. The Special Investigation Service (SIS) of Armenia launched a criminal investigation shortly after Poghosyan’s resignation. On Jan. 24, the SIS announced that it will not press criminal charges against the Major General.
Earlier this year, Poghosyan was elected to the Armenia’s National Assembly as part of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) candidate list.
Shortly after taking office in Sept. 2016, Armenian Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan promised to liberalize the import of several products into the country; Mirakyan began importing bananas in 2016. Since then, some 40 other business entities also import bananas into Armenia.