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Armenian Tycoon Says His Family Is Under Threat

YEREVAN -- The father of Armenian tycoon Khachatur Sukiasian says he fears for the safety of his extended family.

Albert Sukiasian told RFE/RL's Armenian Service that "the ruling clique will stop at nothing to complete political retribution."

Sukiasian is protesting the sale of the largest of his family's businesses, the Bjni mineral water plant, which was sold in an auction by the government after its refusal to pay 4.2 billion drams ($13.7 million) in fines for alleged tax evasion.

The charges against Sukiasian were made after his announcement of support for former President Levon Ter-Petrosian.

Human rights campaigner Artur Sakunts said, "Three of the four [Sukiasian] brothers are on the run not because of a felony but [due to] their political beliefs."

Sukiasian and opposition leaders say the charges are politically motivated.

Sukiasian said the family is "determined to protect" its legal rights and is taking the case to the European Court of Human Rights.