Conductor Sergey Smbatyan Arrested for Fraud & Suspended from Malta Philharmonic

By Francisco Salazar

Sergey Smbatyan, Principal Conductor of the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, and his father have been arrested for large-scale fraud in Armenia.

Smatyna’s father is the former ambassador of Armenia to Israel and had previously been accused of abuse of power and money laundering.

According to reports, the General Prosecutor’s Office alleges that Smbatyan’s actions led to a loss of one billion drams for the state and that the 300-square-meter plot of the Yerevan Tchaikovsky Music School was stolen. Additionally, “the department announced that the ‘Sochocenter’ company proposed to construct a multi-functional complex called ‘Book World’ in honor of the 500th anniversary of Armenian printing and Yerevan’s recognition as the world book capital in 2012. The company also offered to build a new boiler house and concert hall for the Tchaikovsky school at its own expense.”

As a result of his arrest, the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra suspended Smbatyan from his duties as Principal Conductor. In a press statement, the MPO said it was following the case closely and would take a final decision on Smbatyan once all facts have been ascertained.

Smbatyan was appointed to the Malta Philharmonic in January 2022.