Armenian law-enforcement authorities have launched a probe in response to recent media reports claiming that the country’s top soccer functionary has assaulted an employee.
Several Armenian newspapers alleged in recent days that Ruben Hayrapetian, an affluent government-linked entrepreneur who heads the Armenian Football Federation (FFA), used violence to “punish” a doctor working for a local soccer team.
In a statement the FFA confirmed that the worker, Vartan Hovasapian, had been fired for failing to administer proper medical treatment to a player during a recent local soccer game and also for violating “disciplinary norms” by abusing alcohol during working hours. Hovasapian has avoided making public statements in this regard.
A police spokesperson told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am) that Hovasapian has not presented any claim against Hayrapetian in connection with the alleged incident.
Meanwhile, Hayrapetian denied assaulting the man. His advisor Arayik Manukian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am) that “no such incident has ever happened.”
Allegations about Hayrapetian’s violent conduct come several months after a group of employees of a Yerevan restaurant owned by his extended family beat a customer to death after a brawl.
Hayrapetian, who publically admitted as recently as last year that he didn’t mind using violence as a means of punishment, denied any involvement or even knowledge of the deadly beating that occurred in June. He, however, slapped an activist participating in one of the protests against him last summer, for which he publicly apologized afterwards.
The wealthy businessman was not prosecuted in connection with the deadly beating case that had elicited a wide public response, but still resigned his parliament seat in September, apparently under pressure from the ruling Republican Party of Armenia, of which he is a member.