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Former Armenian Defense Minister Charged With Embezzlement

Seyran Ohanian
Seyran Ohanian

YEREVAN -- Former Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian has been charged with embezzling more than $2 million worth of state funds during his tenure.

Ohanian was banned from leaving the country while awaiting trial, a spokeswoman for the state investigation service told RFE/RL on March 4.

The spokeswoman, Marina Ogandzhanyan, added that the investigation is ongoing as “measures are being taken to clarify the entire circle of persons” involved in the case, which related to the sale of government property at below-market prices.

Ohanian served as defense minister from 2008 to 2016.

He is also under investigation for possible unlawful actions during events in March 2008 when 10 people were killed in clashes between police and protesters following a disputed presidential election.

Ohanian rejects the allegations in both cases.

He is among dozens of former officials, including former President Robert Kocharian, who are facing different charges and are awaiting trial.

Kocharian denies wrongdoing.

Former President Serzh Sarksian, who succeeded Kocharian, is being investigated for allegedly embezzling about $1 million in state funds and abuse of power.

Protests erupted in April 2018 after Sarksian reneged on a promise not to become prime minister following two consecutive presidential terms.

Under the rule of Sarksian and his former allies, critics said they have trampled on democracy, and engaged in large-scale corruption and state mismanagement.

They deny those allegations.

With reporting by Reuters

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