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Who owns what in Armenia

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  • Who owns what in Armenia

    In many countries the business interests of politicians are a required public disclosure. In Armenia such things are still very secretive. The business interests of the supporters of political parties, and the business interests of criminals or alleged criminals, are rarely exposed in any country.

    I propose that this thread will give information on the persons who own or operate prominant business or public sector institutions in Armenia. In most cases this sort of information leaks out only as a side issue to some other story, so the information needs to be collected into one list.


    Here are some recent examples:

    MP Aragatz Akhoyan of the Prosperous Armenia party owns the construction company "Spitak Kamar" (White Arch). (September 1, 2011 "Company of Prosperous Armenia Party MP Wins School Contract" http://hetq.am/eng/news/3993/ )

    MP Samvel Aleksanyan owns the "Yerevan City" chain of supermarkets (August 17, 2011 "Expired Children's Oatmeal Sold at Yerevan City Supermarket" http://hetq.am/eng/articles/3631/ ) and "Aleks Grig", an importation company that has a near monopoly of sugar importation into Armenia (controls 99% of the domestic market) (August 23, 2011 "MP Samvel Aleksanyan: Armenia's Sugar Baron Sets the Price" http://hetq.am/eng/news/3795/ ). Aleksanyan apparently rarely attends the National Assembly (http://hetq.am/eng/articles/1912/ ).

    MP Tigran Arzakantsyan co-owns (with RA National Assembly President Hovik Abrahamyan) "Paramount Gold Mining Ltd". ( "Parliament Prez and MP Get Lucrative Mining License" http://hetq.am/eng/articles/960/) Arzakantsyan also owns a cognac factory in France, a company named "Almaz", and a luxury villa in Paris ("Armenian MP Owns Posh Paris Villa" http://hetq.am/eng/articles/1635/ ). Arzakantsyan also co-owns "Spice Steel Armenia" (with the son of MP Vardan Ayvazyan, Minister of Nature Protection) (http://hetq.am/eng/opinion/161/ ). He isa major shareholder in "Bounty Resources Armenia" - it recently made $24 million from the sale of three mines in Tatev to the Chinese (http://hetq.am/eng/articles/628/ ). Tigran Arzakantsyan holds more than ten mining licenses in Armenia (http://hetq.am/eng/articles/960/). Several businesses are also registered under his wife's name (http://hetq.am/eng/articles/2011/ ). Arzakantsyan also apparently rarely attends the National Assembly having been absent from 1,371 out of 1,630 parliament sessions. Has unspecified business interests with Edik Arzakantsyan (a relation?) from the town of Gavar. Another resident of Gavar, Karen Sargsyan, has sent emails threatening violence to HETQ staff if they continue to publish information about Tigran Arzakantsyan (Arzakantsyan Supporters - Stop Writing About the "King" http://hetq.am/eng/articles/2452/ ). Arzakantsyan won 20,000 AMD in damages, plus costs, after he was descrbed in the newspaper Yerkir as a "lakot" (loosely translated as “street urchin” or “riff-raff” - http://hetq.am/eng/news/1932/).

    MP Hovik Abrahamyan, as mentioned earlier, co-owns Paramount Gold Mining with MP Tigran Arzakantsyan . In 2010 it received a 25-year licence for the Meghradzor mine in Kotayk Marz, and in 2011 got a license for the Lousajur section at the Meghradzor gold mines. Argam Abrahamyan, Hovik's son, owns Argamik Ltd., a company registered in the village of Mkhchyan. It has an exploratory license for the copper and molybdenum mine in the Vayots Dzor village of Yelpin.

    The son of MP Vardan Ayvazyan, Souren Ayvazyan, as mentioned earlier co-owns Spice Steel Armenia" with MP Tigran Arzakantsyan. He also owns 28% of "Nagin Ltd", the remaining is owned by "Caspian Bounty Steel Ltd." - it operates iron mines in the Armenian towns of Abovyan, Hrazdan and Svarants. Caspian Bounty Steel Ltd. is a subsidiary of "Bounty Resources Armenia". Bounty Resources Armenia owns the iron mines, and is owned by MP Vardan Ayvazyan, MP Tigran Arzakantsyan, and other unknown shareholders. (February 7, 2011 "Who’s Minding Armenia’s Natural Resources?" http://hetq.am/eng/articles/628/ - Note the reader's comment saying that the hidden shareholders may be Robert Kocharian or Serge Sarkissian). On January 12 2011, the Chinese company "Fortune Oil" purchased 35 % of Bounty Resources Armenia for the price of $24 million.
    Last edited by bell-the-cat; 09-04-2011, 12:49 PM.
    Plenipotentiary meow!

  • #2
    Re: Who owns what in Armenia

    Thanks for this post!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Who owns what in Armenia

      There was this from wikileaks

      WikiLeaks revealed classified cables of the U.S. Embassy to Armenia. They include a letter dated 2003-12-09 which is an informal guide to who owns what in Armenia.
      TYCOONS RELOADED: WHO CONTROLS WHAT IN ARMENIA
      The following is our informal guide to who owns what in Armenia, with the caveat that some of the information is based on rumor and speculation.
      MULTI GROUP
      The Multi Group is headed by Gagik Tsaroukian (Dodi Gago), MP elected in 2003. A former sportsman (arm wrestling), Tsaroukian is believed to have close ties with the Kocharian family, especially the late Valeriy Kocharian, the President’s brother. Multi Group is a holding company consisting of a number of major enterprises in different industries:
      —Kotayk Brewery: a joint venture with Castel Beer
      —Manana Grain: one of Armenia’s major wheat importers
      —Aviaservice: the GOAM sold the right to service aircrafts (catering, etc.) in November 2003. According to Embassy sources, the President’s late brother Valeriy Kocharian’s family has a stake in this business
      —Armenian International Airways (AIA): Tsaroukian is believed to have already cashed out
      —Ararat winery
      —Multi Group Dairy: his mother is in charge of this branch of the business
      —Multi Stone: travertine export to Europe. The plant is equipped with modern state of the art Italian stone cutting machines.
      —Casino Club Cleopatra, along with a new casino (Pyramid) under construction
      —Gyumri Textile plant: silent co-owner
      —Farm projects: including most of the vegetables sold to the Armenian Military forces
      —Furniture Salon network: the largest importer of European furniture in the country
      —Gas stations and natural gas stations: Multi Leon chain
      —Two major retail markets: GUM and MASHTOTS AVE
      SIL GROUP
      The SIL Group is run by Khachatur Sukiassian (Grzo), MP elected in 1999 and again in 2003. Sukiassian is the oldest son of Grzo-the-father, and has taken control of the SIL Group. He is related by marriage to Vano Siradeghian, the notoriously corrupt and powerful former Minister of Internal Affairs (currently in hiding outside Armenia). It is widely believed that the Siradeghian is one of the major shareholders of SIL Group. He is the only businessman who both maintains and admits his ties with ANM and is still a successful businessman. SIL Group is one of the oldest conglomerates, engaged in many industries, particularly:
      —Restaurant chains Pizza di Roma, Queen burger, Chalet
      —SIL Hotel and SIL Plaza department store
      —Official distributor of Phillip Morris
      —Real Estate in downtown Yerevan
      —Golden Wood International: hardwood lumber, flooring strip and finger-joint panel manufacturer
      —Yerevan Furniture Plant panel manufacturer
      —Armeconombank: a leading commercial bank
      —Bjni mineral water plant
      —Yerevan Polyplast OJSC: manufacturer of various plastic household items, pipes, sanitation piping units, polyethylene film and bags, linoleum and artificial leather
      —Zovq Factory OJSC: Zovq natural juices factory
      —Construction business (wood and panel)
      —Star Valley Co. (Dubai): SIL Group’s representative in UAE
      —Masis Gofrotara: cardboard and napkin production
      —Sevan Grain Milling Company.
      MIKA LTD
      MIKA Ltd. is managed by Mikhael Bagdasarov, who is believed to have earned his primary capital in Russia. Bagdasarov is the classmate, best friend and business partner to Defense Minister Serzh Sargsyan. His businesses include:
      —ArmSavings Bank, privatized in 2001
      —Viktoria Trade: a major wheat importer
      —Mika Trading: oil products imports and distribution (including 40 percent of gasoline imports)
      —Armavia: chartered flights to major Russian cities
      —Hrazdan Cement Plant, renamed to Mika Cement
      —Gas station chains (called MIKA)
      —Mineral water bottling in Dilijan (Dilijan Frolova)
      —Other major businesses in Russia and Europe
      GRAND GROUP
      The GRAND Group is run by Hrant Vardanian, a businessman with Russian capital and under the President’s protection. Although he is not an MP, his son, Mikhael Vardanian was elected as MP (2003) on the Dashnak party proportional list. Vardanian enjoys strong popularity within the general public as a successful industrialist and director who reopened several major Soviet-era plants. His businesses include:
      —Grand Candy: major Armenian producer of chocolates, sweets, ice creams, etc.
      —Grand Tobacco: partner with Ruben Hairapetian (Nemets Rubo) and International Masis Tabak (there has been some conflict between the two major cigarette producers)
      —Grand Sun: production of bulbs and lamps on the basis of the privatized Lamp factory. Built a similar factory in Iran.
      —Alcohol production
      —Several Company stores and cafe chains
      HAYRAPETIAN FAMILY
      The Hayrapetian family owns the ‘Hayrapetian Brothers’ Company. Close to the President’s office, especially to advisor Alexan Harutiunian. The younger brother died in a car accident earlier this year. Current business activities:
      —’Hayastan’ Department store
      —Hotel Ararat
      —BMW dealer
      —Erebuni Textile production plant
      —Hotel on Lake Sevan shore
      —Other additional minor businesses
      RUBEN HAYRAPETIAN
      Ruben Hayrapetian, a.k.a. Nemets (German) Rubo. Hayrapetian is the current Chairman of the Armenian Football Federation. MP (elected in 2003), former Prefect of Avan Community. Hayrapetian appears to be supported by the President’s office. Current business activities:
      —Co-owner of Grand Tobacco
      —Aragats textile production plant
      —Harsnaqar hotel on Sevan shore
      —Several gas stations
      —Other additional minor businesses
      HARUTIUN PAMBUKIAN
      Harutiun Pambukian is an MP elected in 1999 and 2003. He defeated Rubo the Flower (Ruben Gevorgian) in the race in Davidashen district. Pambukian is a relatively recent oligarch and major financial supporter of the Presidential campaign in 2003. Believed to have support of Russian capital. Major known business activities:
      —Max Group: farms, gas stations
      —Lusakert Poultry Plant
      —Yeghvard Animal Feed Plant
      —Stakeholder in Midland Resources: owner of electricity distribution networks
      SAMVEL ALEKSANIAN
      Samvel Aleksanian is also known as ‘Lfik Samo.’ Elected Member of Parliament in 2003. A semi-criminal oligarch, Aleksanian maintains an army of bodyguards. He boasts little formal education (maybe the least among oligarchs). Close to the President’s office. Tries to resemble Dodi Gago in everything: his house has the same architecture, he drives the same make of cars, etc. He has the following legal businesses:
      —Lusastgh (Shining Star): produces vodka and vegetable oil, owns supermarkets
      —Informal ‘Feudal Lord’ of Malatia (a district in Yerevan)
      —Major importer of wheat, sugar and butter. Anti-monopoly
      Committee recently looked into his case, and admitted that there is a monopoly in sugar and butter importation. Due to his very close ties with the Customs Committee, he is able to import products with best possible privileges, thus minimizing competition in the market for his company
      —Natali Pharm: imports and distributes drugs
      —Other additional minor businesses

      http://massispost.com/?p=4097

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Who owns what in Armenia

        Խարդախություն պետական մակարդակով


        Ամեն տարի խաղողի բերքահավաքից 10 օր առաջ նպատակադրված կտրում են մայր ջրատարի ջուրը, որպեսզի խաղողագործները հերթական ոռոգումը չկազմակերպեն, խաղողի պտղալցումը լիարժեք չկատարվի, ինչն էլ բացասաբար է անդրադառնում խաղողի քաշի և որակի վրա:

        Ջրամատակարարման դադարեցումը կոծկում են մայր ջրատարի մաքրման անվան տակ: Նկատենք, որ մայր ջրատարները մաքրում են վաղ գարնանը` սեզոնի սկզբին:

        Նույն կերպ են վարվում նաև բանջարեղենի հետ: Երբ պոմիդորը պետք է դուրս գա շուկա, դարձյալ ջրամատակարարումը դադարեցվում է, և ջուրը մղում են դեպի իրենց հազարավոր հեկտարները:

        Դրանով ապահովում են շուկայում իրենց մենաշնորհ դիրքը, և մինչև գյուղացիները բանջարեղենը կհանեն շուկա, օլիգարխների մթերքները շուկայում իրացվում են բարձր գներով:
        http://www.lragir.am/armsrc/country53503.html

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Who owns what in Armenia

          Isg MENK?? Mer Voskin, mer Bghintze, Mer Molybdene????
          Kani kopek e mdnoum budget?
          Ghrghznere arnvazen medagh yen tzouloum.
          Menk et el tchen anoum. Daliss yenk khdanyout.
          Polor touyne mer hoghin, arjeke hoghi kin e krvoum.
          20 dari vertch, ter tchenk garoum anel ayn, intch mer nakhninere arel yen BRONZE taroum.........
          ______________________________________________
          Many Kyrgyz Fail To Find A Glittering Future In Gold

          http://www.rferl.org/content/why_no_.../24339470.html

          September 25, 2011
          By Farangis Najibullah, Ulan Eshmatov
          Two decades ago, Kyrgyzstan's president entered a parliament session brandishing what he felt was the key to the future -- a bar of gold that had come from one of the country's own mines.

          Much has been done to help develop Kyrgyzstan's gold-mining industry in the 20 years since President Askar Akaev first took a shine to the idea.

          More than 220 goldmines are operating in the mountainous country today, according to Zamirbek Esenamanov, Kyrgyzstan's natural-resources minister.

          The industry contributes some $120 million per year to state coffers, Esenamanov says, which accounts for about 15 percent of Kyrgyzstan's GDP and about 40 percent of its exports.

          With gold prices soaring, that figure is expected to increase to $175 million in 2011, the minister notes, and the expansion of mining operations will push the amount to $350 million next year.

          Kyrgyzstan sits on more than 2,000 tons of gold -- the third-largest supply of the precious metal among all former Soviet states, and second only to Uzbekistan in Central Asia.

          Poverty And Rampant Unemployment

          With gold prices at an all-time high at around $1,800 per troy ounce, Kyrgyzstan's deposits are enough to provide each of the country's 5.5 million citizens with just under $22,000.

          The possibilities, however, have done little to change the lives of ordinary Kyrgyz who struggle with poverty and rampant unemployment, and bring home an average salary of between $150 and $200 a month.

          "After independence there was much talk about how our gold deposits would improve our lives, they would make us rich, but it didn't happen," says Anara Dautalieva, head of Taza Tabiyat, an NGO that campaigns for environmental issues and promotes transparency in the mining industry.

          Kyrgyzstan has seen two revolutions in the past six years -- one leading to Akaev's ouster in 2005 and another that pushed his successor, Kurmanbek Bakiev, out of office in 2010.

          The political turmoil has compounded the country's economic woes, which in turn has led to resentment against those perceived to be stealing its wealth.

          In the case of the Kyrgyzstan's goldmines, the finger is pointed most often at corrupt government practices and foreign investors.

          "People sacrifice a lot for the gold mining industry," Dautalieva says. "Most of the mines are located in densely populated areas. It damages their environment. People have to give up land they use for farming."

          Anger Is Boiling Over

          Discussing the rising number of protests against mining operations in recent weeks, Dautalieva believes people want to see evidence that the government's efforts to attract foreign investment are paying off for them, too:

          "Perhaps if Kyrgyzstan got good profits from the contracts with foreign companies, we wouldn't see these [angry protests] because our people, too, could count the money," she says. "Everybody understands the need to develop our mining industry. People are also [telling the government] 'to build roads for us, build water pipes, renovate our schools,' and most importantly, 'don't mess up our environment.'"


          The environmental impact of goldmines has drawn the ire of many Kyrgyz.
          In one recent example of growing dissatisfaction with the situation, in the village of Emgegchil in eastern Naryn Province, people's anger boiled over.

          On August 26, some 300 people gathered outside the headquarters of the Chinese-operated Solton-Sary goldmine, assaulted three policemen who tried to persuade them to disperse, and then beat up three Chinese miners.

          "People are frustrated with a lack of jobs and with poverty, when a lucrative source of income right under their noses goes to foreigners," says Berdibek Dairov, a resident of Emgegchil who is critical of the fact that the mine's owners have hired Chinese instead of locals to work for them.

          "Why should only the Chinese come and work here?" he asks. "Why can't Kyrgyz get that job? Our demand is that the Chinese must go. Kyrgyz guys have to work here. If the Chinese must work here, then [authorities] have to hand over the mine to local companies for developing. Then Chinese workers can work for us."

          According to Taza Tabiyat's Dautalieva, discontent is evident throughout the country.

          "People are disappointed," she says, singling out foreign investment in the country's largest mine as an example. "Their hopes about the benefits of Kumtor and other goldmines have not materialized."

          Selling The Country's Future

          The Canadian-operated Kumtor mine, located in the north-eastern Issyk-Kul province, boasts estimated deposits of at least 700 tons of gold.

          Since gold production begun in Kumtor in 1997, more than 250 tons of gold have been extracted from the mine. Since the beginning of this year, output in Kumtor has reportedly increased by over 15 percent.

          If some of the profits were intended to trickle down, however, locals say they haven't seen it since Centerra, a Canadian-based gold-mining and exploration company, bought the exclusive rights to gold production in 1992.

          After widespread criticism and public pressure, Kyrgyzstan signed a new contract with Centerra in 2009, transferring 33 percent shares of Centerra to the Kyrgyz government.

          Critics, however, still insist Bishkek should revise the agreement once more to further increase its share.

          Kumtor did not respond to RFE/RL's request for an interview to tell its side of the story and to explain its financial arrangements and local hiring practices.

          But in the case of Kumtor and other mines, the general sentiment among Kyrgyz is that officials sold away the country's future by granting mining licenses.

          "People want the government to listen to local residents, and have their best interests at heart when deciding about gold-mining contracts," says Dautalieva. "People believe it's their right."

          Government Promises

          In a bid to fight corruption and to limit presidential authority, the new government that came to power last year changed the country's political system from a presidential to a parliamentary one.

          You Might Also Like

          Kyrgyzstan's Uzbek Schools Set A New Course


          Building A New Generation Of Central Asians To Remedy Regional Ills
          Addressing the public outcry over corruption, Prime Minister Almazbek Atambaev this month promised "full transparency" in dealings with foreign investors.

          Natural Resources Minister Esenamanov also said the new government is determined to "put things right" in response to protests over the country's gold wealth

          "A new proposal on foreign investment in the mining industry is to be discussed at a government meeting," he says. "[The proposal] stipulates that any foreign company investing in our mining sector is not allowed to own more than 57 percent of shares. The government should always control at least 43 percent."

          That is just one of the steps being taken to assuage the public. A parliamentary commission has been set up to review the existing contract with Centerra on the ownership of the Kumtor goldmine.

          And last week authorities announced that over 25,000 new jobs would be created in the gold-mining sector between 2012 and 2014 when extraction begins at several newly developed goldmines.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Who owns what in Armenia

            http://asbarez.com/100126/my-christmas-wish-list/

            A YouTube clip began circulating on Facebook about the Gyumri Hotel Palace built by the mayor of the city,
            Vardan Ghukasyan, a known thug, scandal-plagued swindler, and all-time low-life.
            Gyumri is a city where 6500 hundred families are still in need of permanent housing,
            and where the remnants of the earthquake 23 years on still haunts its citizens both psychologically and physically.

            The hotel is a testament to vulgarity, to opulence in a city and region where severe poverty is dangerously on the rise,
            where people do not have the basic amenities for a decent and dignified life.
            It is a monument to tastelessness and blatant abuse of public power.
            I wonder, are the roads leading to and around the hotel paved?
            Are there proper sidewalks or street lamps? Where and how did Ghukasyan “earn” the money to build this mini-Versailles?

            Politics is not about the pursuit of morality nor what's right or wrong
            Its about self interest at personal and national level often at odds with the above.
            Great politicians pursue the National interest and small politicians personal interests

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Who owns what in Armenia

              People are looking at this the wrong way. it doesn't matter how many people don't have housing or do have housing, because he built it with his own money and it isn't his responsibility to provide for anyone except who ever he wants to provide for. He can burn his money and no one can even complain because it is his personal money.

              I find this project disgusting from business side, when the demand for such a hotel is so low that its literally retarded to build something like it. The money could have been used to build a couple of factories, return and profit from those factories would have been so much higher.
              You should never argue with idiots because they will just drag you down to their level....then beat you with experience!!!!!!!

              "I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Voltaire

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Who owns what in Armenia

                Originally posted by KarotheGreat View Post
                People are looking at this the wrong way. it doesn't matter how many people don't have housing or do have housing, because he built it with his own money and it isn't his responsibility to provide for anyone except who ever he wants to provide for. He can burn his money and no one can even complain because it is his personal money.


                I disagree.

                I say it does matter for the simple reason that he is a town official. In fact he is the Mayor of the second largest City of the country.
                Typically an elected official at that level ( Mayor) wouldn’t have any “spare” time considering the social issues the City has.
                The time the Mayor spends on such personal grand projects is time not spent on City issues.

                Next he should have to explain to his electorate how did he acquire the funds. It couldn't have been savings from his Mayors salary.
                If outside investors, who are they, concern would have to be criminal elements considering the Mayor’s background.

                Any investment has to have a return. How sound is the business model.
                What are the dangers of the Hotel not being able to pay its way. Thus “desperate” measures taken and attract the wrong type of clientele.

                Then he has to explain the social impact to the City.
                The City does not belong to him. What were the considerations prior to decision making.
                These facilities couldn't be for Gyumri residents. What type of people will it attract to the city and what social impact, gambling, prostitution etc.

                He also has to explain the planning permission process. How did he address conflict of interest etc.

                Of course all these little issues can easily ironed out by building a Church. With your own money of course.
                The bigger the better irrespective of any impact on the Church Institution.
                And in the process a place in paradise is also assured ... first class suite of course.

                Therefore you hit two birds with one stone, ..... First class on Earth ..... First class in paradise.


                Last edited by londontsi; 01-01-2012, 03:20 AM.
                Politics is not about the pursuit of morality nor what's right or wrong
                Its about self interest at personal and national level often at odds with the above.
                Great politicians pursue the National interest and small politicians personal interests

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Who owns what in Armenia

                  Originally posted by KarotheGreat View Post
                  People are looking at this the wrong way. it doesn't matter how many people don't have housing or do have housing, because he built it with his own money and it isn't his responsibility to provide for anyone except who ever he wants to provide for. He can burn his money and no one can even complain because it is his personal money.

                  I find this project disgusting from business side, when the demand for such a hotel is so low that its literally retarded to build something like it. The money could have been used to build a couple of factories, return and profit from those factories would have been so much higher.
                  The hotel will probably not have been built to be a viable business project. It is built to be a public display of the power, wealth, status, and secure position of Ghukasyan in much the same way as aristocrats in 17th and 18th-century Europe would build increasingly flamboyant mansions for themselves to show off their wealth and status to their peers. Probably the only people who will stay in that "hotel" as guests will be Ghukasyan's associates and visiting fellow mafiosi and their entourage of thugs and prostitutes. What a visual abomination it is, btw. Is this a representation of modern, aspirational, Armenian culture at its finest?
                  Plenipotentiary meow!

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                  • #10
                    Re: Who owns what in Armenia

                    Originally posted by bell-the-cat View Post
                    The hotel will probably not have been built to be a viable business project. It is built to be a public display of the power, wealth, status, and secure position of Ghukasyan in much the same way as aristocrats in 17th and 18th-century Europe would build increasingly flamboyant mansions for themselves to show off their wealth and status to their peers. Probably the only people who will stay in that "hotel" as guests will be Ghukasyan's associates and visiting fellow mafiosi and their entourage of thugs and prostitutes. What a visual abomination it is, btw. Is this a representation of modern, aspirational, Armenian culture at its finest?
                    life must be one sad second after another for you. why do you keep on living?

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