A police statement said Tigran Grigorian, head of the ministry’s State Ecological Inspectorate, and his deputy Arsen Petrosian were arrested in their offices late on Monday. It said police investigators searched the offices and found there 5 million drams ($13,260) that was allegedly paid to the two men by an unnamed company recently inspected by the agency.
The statement claimed that Petrosian demanded the bribe in return for covering up some of the violations of environmental safety rules allegedly committed by the company. It said he pocketed 1.2 million drams and passed the rest of the kickback on to his boss. The police also found and confiscated $32,000 in cash in Grigorian’s office, added the statement.
Both officials were promptly charged under an article of the Armenian Criminal Code dealing with “large-scale bribery.” It is not yet clear if they will plead guilty to the accusations.
The Ministry of Environment declined to comment on the embarrassing arrests.