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Update – criminal case against ex Armenian president Sargsyan to be taken to trial

Sargsyan stands accused of embezzling budget funds to the amount of more than a million dollars

Serzh Sargsyan, President of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan,

January 10, 2020

With the preliminary investigation into Serzh Sargsyan complete, the Armenian ex president will now face criminal charges in court.

He stands accused in the so-called ‘diesel’ affair, in which he is alleged to have embezzled more than a million dollars from the state budget.

The case materials and evidence have already been transferred to the accused and their representatives. In total, five people stand accused in the case.

The former head of state himself does not admit to the charges against him and considers the case to be political persecution.

December 20, 2019

Former Armenian president Serzh Sargsyan has been charged with embezzling more than $1 million.

Sargsyan’s assets have been seized equivalent to the amount of damage for which the Investigation Service says he is responsible for, and he has been placed on the no-fly list.

The former president and prime minister, ousted as a result of the velvet revolution of 2018, is the second president to face criminal charges – his predecessor Robert Kocharian has been in prison for more than a year.

Why Armenia’s former president Robert Kocharian was sent to jail

Another one bites the dust?

On December 4, Sargsyan was charged with embezzlement of state funds.

The Investigation Service claims that between January 25 and February 7, 2013, the former president “organised the appropriation, embezzlement and theft of 489 million drams (more than $1 million) by a group of officials”.

The story is a long one:

On January 24, 2013, the government approved an assistance program for the purchase of diesel fuel at affordable prices, under which 17,041,300 liters of diesel fuel was to be sold to farmers.

Several companies applied for the tender as suppliers, including Makskhur and Flash.

Makskhur offered the lowest price, and the Ministry of Agriculture intended to award the company the tender.

The accusation against Sargsyan claims that he knowingly instructed that Flash be given the tender, despite their higher prices.

In doing so, the indictment reads, Sargsyan “organized the theft of especially large amounts from the Reserve Fund entrusted to the government”.

Sargsyan’s lawyer says the indictment is lacking grounds and is thus a violation of his client’s rights.

Third president’s family under corruption spotlight

Current Prime Minister Pashinyan has repeatedly called for the need to fight corruption in the country, even as an MP.

Now, the fight against corruption has reached the Sargsyan family.

The president’s brother, Levon Sargsyan, has been swept up in a corruption investigation, and charges were also brought against his son and daughter as well; they were arrested and released on bail.

The National Security Service searched the home of the president’s other brother, Alexander Sargsyan, and detained him, as well as his son Hayk Sargsyan, who was later arrested for his involvement in a case from ten years ago.

Accusations of illicit enrichment were also brought against Vachagan Ghazaryan, the former head of the guard of Serzh Sargsyan; he was found to be in possession of millions of dollars, the source of which he could not explain, and which he said he had forgotten to inform the ethics committee.

Recently on December 9, while speaking at an expert forum dedicated to the prevention of corruption, the Armenian prime minister said that the fight against corruption should in no way be taken as exclusively a fight against the previous “corrupt authorities”.

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