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Armenia Citizens Charged In U.S. To Be Tried Abroad

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, explains the charges against the Mirzoyan-Terdjanian organization on October 13.
YEREVAN -- Armenia has confirmed that its citizens arrested in the United States last week on charges stemming from a large-scale medical-insurance fraud will be tried in the United States, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Officials in Yerevan have not yet revealed how many of the approximately three dozen arrested members of an alleged Armenian-American syndicate -- charged with filing some $100 million in fake claims to the U.S. government health-insurance program Medicare -- are Armenian citizens.

Armenian Justice Minister Gevorg Danielian told RFE/RL on October 19 that "based on the available evidence [Armenian citizens] do not constitute a large percentage [of those arrested]."

"Every person is tried in the country where he or she has committed a crime," Danielian said, adding that Yerevan could only have prosecuted the Armenian citizens in the group if they had been arrested in their home country.

"Were these persons in the Republic of Armenia, we would not be obliged to extradite them," he said. "We would [first] request the files concerning them and conduct a probe."

Armenia's Prosecutor-General's Office recently expressed its readiness to assist in the investigation of the case.

It said that in this case Armenia can only assist in the investigation from the territory of Armenia or by sending specialists to the United States if requested by U.S. officials.

"We have not received any request for legal assistance yet," Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian told RFE/RL.