‘Shady and corrupt deal’: Pashinyan responds to criticism over ZCMC transaction

Armenia – May 5 2022

At a cabinet meeting on Thursday, Nikol Pashinyan hit back at criticism over the suspicious transfer of 15% shares of the Zangezur Copper-Molybdenum Combine (ZCMC) to the government by Industrial Company JSC, a subsidiary of Russian billionaire Roman Trotsenko's GeoProMining.

"From time to time this topic comes up: they say that the state refuses to reveal how it became the owner of ZCMC shares. Some even suggest that it is part of a shady and corrupt deal," he said.

"If an official or one of his relatives had acquired the stake through an offshore company, no one would have cared, as it has always been the case. But the fact that the state acquired the property somehow seems doubtful," Pashinyan noted.

"What's suspicious about it? An investor who acquired a stake from previous shareholders decided to make a donation to the Republic of Armenia and the latter gladly accepted it. Why did the investor decide to make a donation? Simply because we said in the past that this was not one transaction. It’s about a $4 billion investment program which simply can't be implemented without state participation," Pashinyan said, adding it refers to the construction of a copper smelter and a new nuclear power plant.

Thus, Nikol Pashinyan, in fact, confessed that he had snatched a share from the Zangezur Copper-Molybdenum Combine.