The head of an Armenian government agency tasked with combatting financial irregularities in the public sector on Tuesday pointedly declined to deny reports that he may face corruption charges in an ongoing investigation conducted by the National Security Service (NSS).
Two senior officials of the agency, the State Oversight Service (SOS), were arrested and charged with corruption in late February. The NSS claims that they colluded with a private firm to “illegally interfere” in and personally benefit from government-funded supplies of medical equipment to three hospitals.
A senior executive of the firm, Zorashen, was also taken into custody. All three suspects denied the charges.
The head of the SOS, Davit Sanasarian, dismissed the NSS allegations at the time. He said that his agency had on the contrary tried to break up another company’s monopoly on those medical supplies.
One of Sanasarian’s two arrested subordinates was released from custody last month. The other, more senior SOS official, Samvel Adian, remains under arrest.
Armenia media reports said on Tuesday that the NSS has identified Sanasarian as a suspect in the case and may therefore indict him too. The SOS chief did not refute or confirm those reports when he spoke to reporters later in the day. He cited the secrecy of the corruption investigation.
Asked whether he has been summoned by the NSS for interrogation, Sanasarian said: “Ask the NSS.”
“We will wait until the NSS releases official information,” added Sanasarian. “I am interested in seeing the case fully solved and all the guilty individuals held accountable.”
Sanasarian is a former opposition and civic activist who had for years challenged Armenia’s former government, accusing it of corruption and incompetence. The 34-year-old actively participated in last spring’s “velvet revolution” led by Nikol Pashinian, Armenia’s current prime minister. Pashinian named him to run the SOS shortly after coming to power in May.