Vartan Ghukasian, the controversial former mayor of Gyumri, risked facing criminal proceedings on Monday after a man allegedly assaulted by him lodged a formal complaint with the local police.
The complaint stems from an alleged incident that occurred during the trial of another local resident accused of murdering the fiancé of Ghukasian’s elder daughter.
The murder took place in April last year. Karen Yesayan, a 27-year-old resident of the United States, was found shot dead in his car on the day of the planned ceremony of his engagement to Manya Ghukasian. Another young man, Harutyun Sargsian, was arrested in the ensuing criminal investigation. He denies any involvement in the crime which the police say was committed out of jealousy.
According to Sargsian’s relatives, the ex-mayor and men accompanying him assaulted the defendant’s father Samvel as they stormed out of a Gyumri court on July 16. Samvel Sargsian, who is a retired senior police officer, was hospitalized as a result.
A police spokesman told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) that Sargsian has officially reported the incident to the Armenian police. The official said Sargsian claimed in his complaint that he was beaten up by one of Ghukasian’s men. The police will investigate the allegations before deciding to open a criminal case, added the spokesman.
Ghukasian has so far refused to comment on the allegations picked up by the media.
Ghukasian as well as his close relatives have a history of reportedly violent conduct that marred his almost 13-year rule in Gyumri. The flamboyant ex-mayor was briefly detained in April following a fatal shooting blamed by the police on one of his nephews.