Armenia Fund responds to Director’s arrest

Asbarez – Armenia Fund Inc., the Western United States affiliate of Hayastan All Armenia Fund issued an announcement Thursday in response to Tuesday’s arrest in Yerevan of Hayastan All Armenia Fund’s executive director, Ara Vardanyan, on charges of misusing and misappropriating of funds from the organization. On Thursday, Ara Vardanyan was released from custody awaiting the end of the investigation on bail.

Below is the complete text of Armenia Fund’s statement:

All of us are deeply saddened by the arrest of Ara Vardanyan, the Executive Director of the Yerevan-based Hayastan All-Armenian Fund, on allegations of abuse of authority by misusing the organization’s credit card for personal purposes, including online gaming. However, as it appears now, no donor funds have been affected and the misused funds have been fully recovered.

While it is unfortunate that Mr. Vardanyan abused his authority, his misdeed should, in no way, reflect on the hard-working and law-abiding employees of the organization, its worldwide partners, including Armenia Fund in the United States, the generous donors worldwide, the contractors employed in Armenia and Artsakh and the countless volunteers. We will await the findings of the investigation.

Armenia Fund is an independent U.S. based non-profit organization that uses Hayastan All-Armenian Fund as an implementing agent for its specific humanitarian and infrastructure development projects in Armenia and in Artsakh. The funds collected in the United States go toward specific projects, the implementation of which is monitored by Armenia Fund.

Hayastan All-Armenian Fund is an organization that has enjoyed the trust of hundreds of thousands of donors around the world. Throughout the 27 years of its existence the Fund has implemented thousands of large-scale socio-economic development projects that benefit hundreds of thousands of people in Armenia and Artsakh.

After the devastating 1988 earthquake, Hayastan All-Armenian Fund brought urgent humanitarian aid to the people of Gyumri and continues to remain the largest distributor of permanent housing in the earthquake zone. In the darkest day of the newly-independent Armenia, it provided heating fuel and bread, countering Turkish and Azeri border blockade and saving thousands from starvation during the freezing winters of 1992-1994.

Since 1995 and until today, Hayastan All-Armenian Fund is the largest implementor of large scale humanitarian relief and infrastructure development projects in Artsakh providing recovery from a devastating war and seven decades of Azeri occupation. Recently, the Fund initiated innovative infrastructure projects including development of solar energy and irrigation networks using latest technologies. And, of course, the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund’s signature projects remain the strategically vital Goris-Stepanakert and Vardenis-Matakert highways connecting Artsakh to the outside world and making Artsakh’s very existence possible.

Hayastan All-Armenian Fund’s mission is far from over. Armenia’s and Artsakh’s needs are enormous. The actions of a single person cannot overshadow the immense achievements of this legendary organization, nor should it cast any doubt on the role it plays in the development of Armenia and Artsakh.

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