By Anush Dashtents
The French embassy in Yerevan on Wednesday denied reports that it is being investigated by the French authorities for the allegedly illegal sale of visas to Armenian citizens.
Reports in French and British media have said the foreign ministry in Paris has uncovered eight cases of corruption in French diplomatic missions abroad. According to a British daily, “The Guardian,” evidence has been found of a “flourishing trade in visas” at the embassies in Bulgaria, Iran, Armenia, Togo, Tunisia, Benin and Rwanda.
But the French embassy in Armenia said that it is currently not under formal investigation. A spokeswoman told RFE/RL that one of its consulate officials suspected of giving visas in return for kickbacks was recalled to Paris 18 months ago to face an inquiry. Lusine Azarian said there have been no other disciplinary actions against the embassy staff ever since.
The scandal broke out after it emerged that the French consulate in Sofia had illegally sold tens of thousands of French visas to Bulgarian prostitutes. The revelation made by French police was reportedly the main reason for the recall and replacement earlier this month of the ambassador to Bulgaria, Dominique Chassard.