Armenian government approves amendments to laws on criminal procedure and bank secrecy

13.09.2019 09:02
Armenian government approves amendments  to  laws on criminal procedure and  bank secrecy

YEREVAN, September 12. /ARKA/. The Armenian government approved today a set of amendments to the laws on Criminal Procedure and Bank Secrecy, which provide for the disclosure of customers bank information.

First Deputy Minister of Justice Rafik Grigoryan said under the current law law-enforcement agencies can require and get customer bank information only if they are suspects of a criminal case or were accused of committing crimes.

He said in its current form the law hinders the investigation of cases which involve corruption risks, since investigations often involve not only the suspects or the accused, but also people who are related to them, and in some cases the evidence which is necessary to involve a person as an accused is not available because of bank secrecy.

He said the proposed amendments call for removal of these restrictions, but at the same time they provide for specific mechanisms of guarantees and restrictions. In particular, a full list of crimes is to be established for courts to order disclosure of a person's bank secrets.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan noted in this connection that this is a very complicated issue that caused serious concerns, and therefore was considered throughout the year.

"Our political position is unequivocal - we are not pursuing a semi-fight against corruption and should create such institutional mechanisms so that there is no doubt about the intentions of the government. This is one of the important institutional reforms that we have been preparing for the year, having researched all the aspects of the question," Pashinyan said.

As an example, the prime minister cited a case when the authorities knew that a high-ranking official put up for sale property that was formally owned by another person.

“In fact, this happened before our eyes, but there were legislative restrictions and to stop it we had to make a very rude and unlawful interference, which would have been legally difficult to explain or had to silently watch how the loot was hidden. If we have the right to search and find the money hidden under the mattress, in the pockets, we should have the right to find them in bank accounts as well. In this sense, there is no restrictions on the issuance of search warrants," Pashinyan said. --0--

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