By Karine Kalantarian
Two colleagues of an assassinated senior official at the Armenian government’s tax collection agency were arrested late Wednesday on suspicion of involvement in a car bombing that killed him last week, law-enforcement sources told RFE/RL.
The sources in Armenia’s Office of the Prosecutor-General refused to identify the suspects, saying only that they are employees of the State Taxation Service (STS). No further details were immediately known.
Shahen Hovasapian, who headed a feared STS division in charge of investigating tax evasion, was fatally wounded on September 6 in an explosion that rocked his car moments after it picked him and his teenage son up outside their home in central Yerevan.
Investigators said the blast was caused by a explosive device planted under the car’s front passenger seat occupied by Hovasapian. His driver and son did not suffer serious injuries.
President Robert Kocharian condemned the killing and linked it with Hovasapian’s “efforts to tighten tax administration and create equal taxation conditions for everyone.” He was said to have instructed law-enforcement bodies to solve it “as soon as possible.”
A Yerevan newspaper reported earlier this week that Hovasapian’s driver was arrested as part of the inquiry. The prosecutors denied the report, however.
(Photolur photo: Hovasapian's car pictured after the blast.)