German government on Armenian mafia acting in country
In response to the parliamentary request of the Alternative for Germany party, the German government raised some issues concerning the Armenian mafia's activities in the country. The document notes that Armenian organized criminal groups are considered by the German state in the broader context of the Russian-Eurasian organized crime. Whereby, Armenian organized criminal groups rank fourth in the number of criminal cases initiated in 2017 in the fight against "Russian-Eurasian" organized crime.
Only those with citizenship of Russia, Germany and Lithuania were ahead of Armenians. The German government responded that the activity of the Armenian organized criminal groups is especially widespread in the east and north of the country. In addition, the German government is aware of individual cases of cooperation between Armenian criminal groups and the Italian mafia.
German media has been writing about the Armenian mafia's rampage in Germany for years. The exchange of fire between two Armenian groups in the German city of Erfurt in 2014 raised widespread concern in the public. After that, German law enforcement officers paid close attention to immigrants from Armenia and established a special investigative group FATIL to investigate activities of Armenian criminals in the country.
Last year, a closed report of the Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office was made available to a combined team of Der Spiegel and MDR reporters. In particular, it stated that "the Armenian mafia exists and represents a threat to the rule of law." It also reported on the alleged ties of the Armenian Ambassador to Germany Ashot Smbatyan with Armenian criminal structures. Moreover, it became known to journalists that German security services refused to cooperate with the embassy and Smbatyan personally in investigating the Armenian mafia's actions - since German intelligence has reason to suspect that the ambassador is a “thief-in-law” himself, who involved in money laundering and smuggling. New details about Ashot Smbatyan’s links should have been disclosed in the MDR report in the autumn 2018, but the ambassador obtained a primary prohibition on the dissemination of information, which "discredits his reputation”. This decision is intended to limit the possible image losses of the plaintiff until the court understands the details of the case. Representatives of the German public television, in turn, have already said that they are ready for a full-fledged trial and will seek to lift the ban in court.