Yerevan Today offices searched by police after wiretapping scandal
Police conducted a search of the offices of the news website Yerevan.Today on 17 September after a private conversation between the heads of the country’s Special Investigation Service and the National Security Service was tapped.
The search was sanctioned by the Special Investigation Service and the General Department for Combatting Organised Crime of Armenia.
An audio recording between the heads of the security service agencies appeared online on 12 September in which the two discussed the criminal case against ex-president Robert Kocharyan.
Immediately after the publication of the audio recording, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan stated that the wiretap was ‘treason against the nation’ and demanded that the culprits be revealed.
Yerevan.Today has spoken out against the search:
“The searches are being conducted on the basis that the site supposedly published the recording of the wiretap of the heads of the National Security Service and the Special Investigation Service two days earlier than the rest of the media. Such assertions were made on the basis of a Google search.
“However, Yerevan.Today published the recording at the same time as the rest of the Armenian media. It is obvious that this is a search engine problem. Networking experts have already noted that the Google search system experienced difficulties.”
The Special Investigation Service of Armenia said that searches in connection to the criminal case are being conducted at several locations.
Social media users have written that Yerevan.Today published the wiretapped phone conversation earlier than the unknown individual who is now being sought by police.
Users have also published Google cache pages where the date of publication of the audio recording is allegedly shown.
Yerevan.Today insists that this information is incorrect.
The Armenian media has reported that Yerevan. Today belongs to ex-president Robert Kocharyan. The last interview he conducted was given to this media outlet. Kocharyan denies any connection to the publication.