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Former adviser charged with defrauding Armenian Defence Ministry 

1 February 2021
Davit Galstyan (left) and Nikol Pashinyan (centre) in a Kalashnikov factory. Official photo.

A former Defence Ministry adviser and arms dealer has been apprehended in Armenia on suspicion of defrauding the armed forces.

Davit Galstyan, also known as Patron Davit, previously served as an adviser to former Defence Minister Davit Tonoyan.

A company belonging to Galstyan supplied artillery shells, supposedly produced in 1983–1986, to Armenia’s Armed Forces in 2018. However, according to Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS): ‘by deception, hiding the technical-tactical characteristics in the documents, he delivered other artillery shells of 1977 Czech production’. They said the products that were delivered failed to fulfil the military tasks they were purchased for․

According to the NSS, Galstyan defrauded the ministry of ֏523 million ($1 million). 

After the war, several sources accused Galstyan of delivering old weapons to Armenia and selling arms to Turkey in cooperation with Tonoyan. 

Leaked documents appeared to show that such weapons began to appear in the hands of Turkish backed Syrian militants fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh. Both Galstyan and the MoD denied these accusations, calling the leaked documents ‘disinformation and manipulation’. 

In January, it was reported that Galstyan and other MoD officials were being investigated by the NSS in four criminal cases related to arms supplied by companies belonging to Galstyan. No further information about these cases has been released.

A well-connected arms dealer

Davit Galstyan was appointed an adviser to then–Defence Minister Davit Tonoyan in 2019. 

Previously, in 2018, the Ministry of Defence announced that a joint Armenian-Russian Kalashnikov factory would open in Armenia. The agreement was signed between Galstyan’s Royalsys Engineering and Russia’s Kalashnikov, 25% of which is state-owned.

Galstyan’s name started circulating in the press after an investigation by CivilNet revealed that his name appeared in United Nations Security Council documents regarding arms deliveries to Libya, breaking an arms embargo. 

According to reports, Galstyan also organised an illegal arms delivery to Armenia from Moldova and had connections with Ukraine’s former president Petro Poroshenko’s aviation company․

Galstyan bought two Armenian state-owned companies in 2007, with authorisation of then–Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan. These companies later started producing arms in Armenia.

A number of lawsuits have been brought against Galstyan’s companies in Armenia, but in most cases, the plaintiffs withdrew their complaints sometimes without explanation. 

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