Russia to extradite Hollywood producer facing fraud charge to Armenia
The producer took almost $100 million from Vitaly Grigoryants, the owner of Armbusinessbank, to produce such blockbusters as Escape Plan and Broken City, but kept half of the sum.
Stepan Martirosyan, the executive producer of several Hollywood blockbusters, who was detained in late 2017 at Domodedovo airport, will be extradited to Armenia, which arrested him in absentia six months ago and put him on the wanted list. This decision was taken by Moscow City Court and the Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation in reaction to a request from Armenian counterparts, Kommersant informs.
Earlier, the Supreme Court, having considered the complaint of the producer’s defense, overturned the extradition and sent the case for new consideration. However, Moscow City Court did not find any obstacles for the extradition and decided to return Martirosyan to his homeland.
At home, Martirosyan is charged with a crime punishable under Art. 178 of the Criminal Code of Armenia (Swindling).
The Armenian Prosecutor General's Office initiated the criminal case against Stepan Martirosyan in September 2017. According to the investigation, the producer did Armbusinessbank owner Vitaly Grigoryants out of $50 million, promising him profitable investments in the cinema business.
Kommersant notes that US-based Stepan Martirosyan participated as an executive producer in the creation of such films as Lone Survivor and Broken City, starring Mark Wahlberg, The Frozen Ground, End of Watch and Escape Plan, featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, and Jake Gyllenhaal.
Totaled up, from 2011 to 2013 banker Vitaly Grigoryants invested $97 million in the production of Hollywood films through Martirosyan. Martirosyan himself says that the investments were not justified, as the movies turned out to be commercially unviable and the release failed. However, Grigoryants found out through the lawyers that the partner kept to himself $50 million - half of all investments.