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Ex-Mayor Freed After Hefty Payment


Armenia -The Investigative Committee headquarters in Yerevan.

The former longtime mayor of the Armenian town of Hrazdan has been released from custody after agreeing to return over 102 million drams ($210,000) in public funds which he had allegedly embezzled while in office.

Aram Danielian was arrested on Tuesday in connection with what law-enforcement authorities described as misuse of land and property taxes collected by the Hrazdan municipality in 2015-2018. The former head of a municipality division tasked with tax collection was also arrested on suspicion of embezzling the money.

Through his lawyer, Danielian denied any wrongdoing on Wednesday. The lawyer, Aleksandr Sirunian, said his client could only be faulted for allowing other local officials to waste or pocket the collected taxes.

Armenia’s Investigative Committee announced on Friday that Danielian “accepted his guilt,” “recovered the 102.2 million-dram damage inflicted on the state,” and was set free as a result of that on Thursday. “The investigation is continuing,” it said in a statement.

The law-enforcement agency did not specify whether it will bring criminal charges against the other suspect.

A member of former President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party, Danielian ran the town located 45 kilometers north of Yerevan for over 15 years. He resigned in July two months after Sarkisian was ousted from power during the “velvet revolution” led by Nikol Pashinian, Armenia’s current prime minister.

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