by Emmanuil Mkrtchyan
Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan is determined to put an end to the escalating conflict between Old Erivan Holding and Unibank. Abrahamyan has told journalists that he has recently received for the second time Manvel Ter-Arakelyan, the owner of Old Erivan Holding, and discussed with him the possibility of signing of an amicable agreement.
The conflict between "Unibank" CJSC and "Old Erivan Holding" LLC has turned from a civil conflict into a conflict of a criminal nature. Both Head of Unibank Vardan Atayan and owner of Old Erivan Manvel Ter-Arakelyan have applied to law-enforcement structures and each of them is lodging a motion to bring his opponent to criminal responsibility. The proceeding is going on at the court of general jurisdiction of Kentron and Nork-Marash administrative districts.
Manvel Ter-Arakelyan has repeatedly pointed out in his interviews that his company has been declared bankrupt deliberately, hinting at the attempt of hostile takeover of his company by the Bank. However, he has specified no names.
Hetq.am, a website of the investigative reporters, says that on 25 May 2009 Unibank and Old Erivan Holding concluded a loan agreement, under which the repayment of the principal amount and the interest was to start 2 years later. According to the Holding owner, the Bank e-mailed him two versions of the repayment schedule. One of the versions implied the loan repayment within a comparatively shorter period (nearly 44 mln AMD monthly). The other one stipulated a comparatively longer period (nearly 32 mln AMD monthly). Ter-Arakelyan chose the latter, i.e. the long-term version of loan repayment. The same day the Bank's representatives brought the agreement to him. Ter-Arakelyan signed the document but later he pointed out that he was mistakenly given the first version.
Afterwards, the Bank itself made sure that it had sent the wrong version to the customer. So, it sent its representatives to Manvel Ter-Arakelyan once again, this time with the second version of the agreement, which he signed and sealed. "Thus, two agreements were concluded, however, only the second one is in force. Moreover, on 25 May, when repayment schedule was launched, the Bank withdrew 32 mln AMD from my account, i.e. as much as required by the second agreement. Moreover, the Bank called my accountant and said that we needn't visit the Bank because they have withdrawn the required sum from my account and that everything is all right. That is to say, they were well aware that the first agreement was not in force", said Manvel Ter-Arakelyan. He added that afterwards another bank offered him refinancing on better terms (at a lower interest rate) and decided to repay the whole debt to Unibank.
At first, Unibank accepted the offer, but a month later, on June 17, 2014, it sent Old Erivan a paper saying that they had failed to meet their obligations, that is, to pay 44mln AMD on May 25, so, they would have to pay a fine. "They refer to the first agreement, which obliges me to pay 44mln AMD, but why then did they withdraw from my account the sum envisaged by the second agreement? They have left 305,000 AMD on my account. If I actually had to pay 44mln AMD, they should have left no money there and should have told me that I owe them the rest as I didn't have so much on my account," Ter-Arakelyan said.
He said that based on the first agreement, Unibank CEO Vardan Atayan has complained to the police that he (Ter-Arakelyan) has forged Unibank's seal and his signature so as to swindle money of the bank. "He claims that my signature and the bank's seal in the second agreement are also forged. And now I have to answer for this false denunciation," Ter-Arakelyan said.
Meanwhile, Unibank says that the owner of Old Erivan has organized this campaign against the bank so as not to pay the loan.