A senior police officer has surrendered to Armenian law-enforcement authorities more than a week after apparently going into hiding to evade prosecution on corruption charges.
Mihran Keshishian, deputy chief of the police department of Yerevan’s southern Erebuni district, was charged early this month with receiving a $12,000 kickback to end a criminal investigation of alleged drug trafficking into Yerevan’s Nubarashen prison, the largest in the country. He disappeared immediately after that.
Nerses Nazarian, chief of the Yerevan police, last week warned Keshishian to come out of hiding, saying that he would otherwise be tracked down and face the consequences.
In a statement issued late on Tuesday, Armenia’s Special Investigative Service (SIS) said the officer handed himself in to SIS officials dealing with the bribery case. It said Keshishian surrendered with “the sum which he received as a bribe.”
Keshishian was formally dismissed as deputy chief of the Erebuni police on November 9.
Corruption within the Armenian police and other security agencies has long been a serious problem. Law-enforcement officials are often accused of seeking bribes for not prosecuting criminal suspects or ensuring a mild punishment for them.
Last March, the SIS arrested Major-General Hovannes Tamamian, head of the police Directorate General of Criminal Investigations, and another senior police officer. They were accused of deliberately mishandling a murder investigation. Tamamian remains in pre-trial detention.