Thursday, March 17, 2005

Desert Nights
[March 16, 2005]

Nearly $9 million was transferred from Dubai to Armenia in 2004

These are the amounts of bank wire transfers from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Armenia over the last four years.

2001 $ 654,200
2002 $ 3,933,000
2003 $ 5,769,500
2004 $ 8,792,800

This information, provided to us by the Armenian Central Bank's public relations department, reveals a significant increase in money transfers from 2001 to 2004.

Why has there been such an increase, and who is sending the money?

We know that many Armenian businesses import different products from the UAE. But this involves sending money to the UAE from Armenia. According to Armenia's Ministry of Trade and Economic Development, in the last 14 years (1991-2004), Armenian businesses invested $4,356,000 into the UAE. This is a small sum compared to the amount of money that is sent the other way. In the last four years alone, $19,149,000 was transferred to Armenia from the UAE.

The increase of money transfers from the UAE reflects the growth in the sex trade in recent years. It is probably safe to say that this money is sent to Armenia by Armenian pimps and prostitutes. The prostitutes themselves told us that they use banks to send money to their relatives at home. But this is only a fraction of the money sent; the rest is transferred by Armenian pimps, who send part of the money to their relatives, and the rest to unknown recipients. It's hard for a journalist to prove this. But there are government agencies that could easily find out who regularly receives this money. If, of course, they want to find out.

Edik Baghdasaryan, Ara Manoogian

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