Law-enforcement authorities had sufficient grounds to bring corruption charges against the head of an Armenian anti-graft agency, Prosecutor-General Artur Davtian insisted on Wednesday.
Davtian dismissed claims by Davit Sanasarian, the suspended head of the State Oversight Service (SOS), that the charges were “fabricated” by the National Security Service (NSS).
“There is no way a criminal case can be fabricated against anyone,” he told reporters. “Forget about that word. There is no such thing.”
Davtian said the ongoing criminal investigation into alleged corrupt practices within the SOS, a government body tasked with combatting financial irregularities in the public sector, will be “absolutely objective and comprehensive.”
The NSS indicted Sanasarian last week as part of that probe. It arrested two other senior SOS officials in late February, saying that they attempted to cash in on government-funded supplies of medical equipment to three hospitals. Sanasarian is accused of helping them enrich themselves and a private company linked to them.
Sanasarian, who actively participated in last year’s “velvet revolution” and has been a political ally of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian until now, strongly denies the accusations. The former civic activist’s lawyer, Inessa Petrosian, has claimed that the high-profile case is based on “false testimony” given by SOS officials against her client.
Earlier this week, Petrosian asked the Office of the Prosecutor-General to order another law-enforcement body, the Special Investigative Service (SIS), to take over the probe. Davtian said there are “no grounds yet” to grant the request.
Sanasarian’s supporters, among them leaders of some Western-funded non-governmental organizations, have defended him on social media, denouncing the NSS and its influential director, Artur Vanetsian, in particular.
Pashinian hit back at the critics on Saturday, saying that they place their personal relationships with Sanasarian above the rule of law. “Davit is also my friend, but be aware that there are no untouchable persons in Armenia,” he said.