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Armenian Police Report Rise In Corruption Cases

Armenian police chief Alik Sarkisian (file photo)
Armenian police chief Alik Sarkisian (file photo)
YEREVAN -- Armenian police say corruption-related prosecutions surged 40 percent last year and have pledged to further increase the fight against graft, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Major General Alik Sarkisian, the national police chief, said police departments across the country opened some 550 criminal cases related to bribery and other corrupt practices in 2009, hundreds more than in 2008.

Addressing an annual meeting of police chiefs in Yerevan on February 5, Sarkisian described the number as "unprecedented."

President Serzh Sarkisian last month called for a tougher crackdown on government corruption during a visit to the parliament's Audit Chamber. He said the parliamentary body should "work more actively" with law enforcement bodies in punishing corrupt state officials.

Police said the total number of registered crimes jumped by 55 percent, to approximately 14,000, in 2009.

Police chief Sarkisian (no relation to the president) said the sharp increase was primarily the result of a crackdown on the underreporting of crimes by police.

He added that "political stability" in the country has allowed police to increase their focus on combating crime.