An ethnic Armenian businessman who seized a bank affiliate in Moscow and held several people hostage surrendered to the police late on Wednesday.
The man was identified as 55-year-old Aram Petrosian, the owner of several companies in Russia that have reportedly gone bankrupt.
According to Russian media, during the attack the assailant, who introduced himself as a bankrupt businessman, had what looked like an explosive device hanging around his neck, but it later proved to be a fake bomb. He had threatened to blow it up.
“He said he did not have anything against the people in the bank, but he had issues with the bank. He said he did not mean to rob the bank, but just seized it and wanted negotiations with the police,” a source told Russia’s Interfax news agency.
Senior Russian police officers arrived at the scene for negotiations. After a six-hour standoff the man let all hostages go before turning himself in.
Russian authorities launched a criminal case in connection with the hostage-taking.
In a video published on his social media account earlier on August 24 Petrosian, a citizen of Russia, claimed he would resort to that “drastic violation of the penal code” out of despair. He claimed he could not otherwise tell the society about the problem of bankruptcy of legal entities and individuals. Addressing his words to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the businessman demanded that the government recognize bankruptcy as a malady and set up a new state institution that would deal with the problem of bankruptcy.
Deputy editor of Russia’s TASS news agency Gleb Bryansky, who happened to be among the hostages at the seized affiliate of Citibank, said that the assailant did not look like a tough criminal. “He rather looked like a desperate man. He was very nervous, was apologizing all the time and smoked a lot,” he said.