Nagorno-Karabakh ex-Defense Minister accused of money laundering
Samvel Babayan,the ex-Commander of the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army, is now facing money laundering charges.
Earlier, Samvel Babayan was charged with illicit trafficking in weapons. However, those charges against him have been dropped.
Samvel Babayan was arrested on 22 March for the alleged involvement in the smuggling of an Igla anti-aircraft missile system to Karabakh. Babayan was facing charges under Article 235 of the Criminal Code of Armenia (illegal procurement, sale, storage, transportation and possession of weapons, ammunitions, explosive substances or explosive devices, by a group of individuals, without prior consent).
Samvel Babayan pleads not guilty to both of the charges brought against him. A preliminary inquiry into the case has been concluded. The defense lawyer has requested that the investigative agency give him 15 working days so that he could study the case materials.
Babayan’s supporters’ claim that he has become a victim of political persecution due to his involvement in the political processes in Armenia. Namely, shortly before the 2 April parliamentary election, Babayan had openly expressed his support to the ‘Ohanyan-Raffi-Oskanyan bloc, set up by three Armenian ex-ministers, and had been arrested two days before the vote.