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Former Armenian President's Son-in-Law Recalled From Ambassador Posts

Mikayel Minasian (file photo)

Yerevan has recalled Mikayel Minasian, the son-in-law of former Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian, from his ambassador posts in the Vatican and Portugal.

A decree issued on November 1 said the move was "based on the prime minister’s recommendation."

The move comes amid changes put in place by acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian, a former opposition lawmaker who took office in May after spearheading weeks of protests.

The demonstrations helped bring the resignation of Sarkisian, his long-ruling predecessor.

Minasian was appointed Armenia’s ambassador to the Vatican in 2013. He served as first deputy chief of the presidential staff in 2008-2011.

Many political analysts regarded him as Sarkisian's political and public relations strategist during that period.

During his years of work in public office Minasian, 41, mostly kept a low profile, but he is also thought to have controlled several private TV stations as well as a number of online news services.

Pashinian's new administration has brought cases against several former officials and close relatives of Sarkisian’s family for a variety of alleged crimes, although the reasons for the ambassador’s recall were not explained and he has not been charged with a crime.

The health minister in the Pashinian government in July sacked Minasian’s father, Ara Minasian, from the position of executive director of a leading Yerevan hospital.

Separately, investigators in Yerevan said on November 2 that fraud charges have been brought against Ara Minasian, whose whereabouts are not known to authorities.

The Investigative Committee said he is suspected of embezzling funds allocated by the Health Ministry.