Nova Scotia

Vrege Armoyan sentenced to four years in prison on contempt charge

Halifax businessman Vrege Armoyan was sentenced to four years in prison and fined $384,000 for contempt of court relating to an acrimonious divorce and child support case.

Halifax businessman appears to have fled country

Lisa Armoyan, Vrege Armoyan's ex-wife, lives in Florida, and said Friday she is not receiving any child support from the Halifax businessman. (Lisa Armoyan/CBC)

Halifax businessman Vrege Armoyan was sentenced to four years in prison and fined $384,000 for failing to pay $1.7 million in child support relating to his acrimonious divorce case that has been dragging through courts for years.

But, he may never see the inside of a jail cell. The brother of well-known Halifax land developer George Armoyan appears to have fled the country when his contempt of court order trial began in April.

Nova Scotia Justice Theresa Forgeron issued a warrant for Armoyan's arrest after handing down the sentence.

Neither the man nor his lawyer were in court on Friday.

Forgeron said the sentence is in response to Armoyan's "flagrant defiance of a court order [that] has spanned many months."

The fine of $384,000 is an accumulated total of $3,000 for each breach of court order.

Armoyan's ex-wife, Lisa, said she is being chased by bill collectors and is searching for a cheaper apartment for her three children. She said she could not afford to fly from her home in Florida to attend the court hearing but did, however, participate via phone.

Her lawyer Harold Niman said Armoyan has stopped paying even the minimal support he had been contributing.

Niman also said there hasn't been one case in all of Canada that matches this in scale. 

"He has absconded and fled the jurisdiction," he said, adding it is "unlikely that he's living in a cave somewhere." 

He suggested the man is residing somewhere in the Middle East.

In an email, Armoyan indicated he left Canada shortly before a contempt hearing started in April.

now