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Arrested Sarkisian Bodyguard In No Rush To Post Bail


Armenia - Vachagan Ghazarian (R), President Serzh Sarkisian's chief bodyguard, is pictured at an official event in Yerevan, 11 July 2015.

Former President Serzh Sarkisian’s former chief bodyguard prosecuted on corruption charges remained in custody on Monday because of failing to post a 1 billion-dram ($2.1 million) bail set by Armenia’s Court of Appeals.

The court granted Vache Ghazarian bail on Friday in a ruling on his appeal against a lower court’s June 28 decision to sanction his pre-trial arrest.

A spokeswoman for the Special Investigative Service (SIS) told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) that Ghazarian did not make the hefty payment as of Monday afternoon. He has therefore not been set free yet, said the official, Marina Ohanjanian.

Ghazarian’s lawyer, Armen Harutiunian, confirmed the information. He said he does not know when his client will pay the sum.

Ghazarian, who headed Sarkisian’s security detail for more than two decades, stands accused of illegally enriching himself and failing to disclose his assets to a state anti-corruption body.He was detained on June 25 five days after police raided his apartment in Yerevan and found $1.1 million and 230,000 euros ($267,000) in cash there. He allegedly carried a further $120,000 and 436 million drams ($900,000) in a bag when he was caught outside a commercial bank in Yerevan.

In a June 25 statement, the National Security Service (NSS) said Ghazarian was also planning to withdraw 1.5 billion drams ($3.1 million) kept by him and his wife at another Armenian bank. He claimed that he “forgot” to add these sums to his official income declarations, according to the statement.

Such declarations are mandatory for Armenia’s high-ranking state officials and their close relatives. Ghazarian was such an official until being sacked in late May as first deputy head of a security agency providing bodyguards to the country’s leaders.

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