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Armenian Ex-President's Nephew Charged With Attempted Murder

Hayk Sarkisian was detained on July 4 and formally charged with attempted murder and illegal arms possession.

YEREVAN -- Former Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian's nephew has been charged with attempted murder in a case that was closed more than a decade ago, an Armenian law enforcement agency said on July 11.

In 2007, Yerevan resident Davit Simonian suffered a gunshot wound. A citizen identified as A. Ghevondian told police at the time that he had wounded Simonian when he mishandled a gun he had allegedly found in the street.

The Investigative Committee said an investigation was held at the time but that the case was eventually closed after the parties reached reconciliation "on the grounds of the absence of a complaint."

But earlier this month, Armenian prosecutors ordered a renewed investigation into the incident, citing "new circumstances" that had emerged.

The Investigative Committee said Simonian was wounded not because of Ghevondian’s mishandling a weapon, but the ex-president’s nephew, Hayk Sarkisian, "shot with the intention to kill the person."

A spokeswoman for the Investigative Committee, Sona Truzian, said Hayk Sarkisian was detained on July 4 and formally charged with attempted murder and illegal arms possession. The spokeswoman said the decision on his pretrial restrictions were pending.

Ex-President Sarkisian's nephew Hayk is not related to businessman Hayk Sarkisian, the son of current President Armen Sarkisian.

Armenia's National Security Service also issued an arrest warrant for Hayk Sarkisian's elder brother, Narek, whose current whereabouts is unknown, accusing him of alleged criminal activities linked to illegal drugs and weapons possession.

Former Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian (file photo)
Former Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian (file photo)

Hayk and Narek are the sons of Serzh Sarkisian's brother Aleksandr, who was briefly detained by police and security officers twice in recent days amid an investigation into alleged illegal weapons possession.

Another brother of the former president, Levon Sarkisian, and his daughter were charged with "illegal enrichment" after tax inspectors discovered in June that they held millions of dollars in undeclared deposits at an Armenian bank.

A Yerevan court issued an arrest warrant for Levon Sarkisian on July 7, but his whereabouts were unknown.

Keeping An Eye On The Sarkisians
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Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian announced a crackdown on corruption after coming into office on May 8.

Serzh Sarkisian, who had been president for 10 years, moved to the newly empowered post of prime minister in April but stepped down after weeks of peaceful street protests led by Pashinian, then an opposition lawmaker.

In an interview with RFE/RL's Armenian Service on July 6, Pashinian denied that Sarkisian's family is being selectively targeted by authorities, saying the cases against his relatives were being pursued on their legal merits and are not "political" in nature.