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Corruption Charges Against Senior Armenian Official ‘Well-Founded’


Armenia - Davit Sanasarian (L), head of the State Oversight Service, and Artur Vanetsian (R), director of the Natonal Security Service, at a cabinet meeting in Yerevan, February 21, 2019.

Corruption charges brought against a senior government official who actively participated in last year’s “velvet revolution” are “completely substantiated,” the head of Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS), Artur Vanetsian, insisted on Friday.

The NSS indicted Davit Sanasarian, the head of the State Oversight Service (SOS), last week as part of a criminal investigation into alleged corruption practices within the anti-corruption government agency. 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. He has rejected the accusations as “fabricated.”

“There have been no fabricated [criminal] cases since the well-known events of April 2018,” countered Vanetsian. “We all are building a rule-of-law state and the National Security Service is playing a key role in that effort.”

“The accusation brought against Davit Sanasarian has been completely substantiated by testimony given by various persons and face-to-face interrogations,” he told reporters. “But not wanting to breach the presumption of Mr. Sanasarian’s innocence, I am calling on everyone to wait a little, until the case is sent to court.”

Earlier this week, Petrosian’s lawyer asked Armenian prosecutors to order another law-enforcement body, the Special Investigative Service (SIS), to take over the high-profile probe.

Vanetsian said that he has “no problem with such a transfer.” “I have no doubts whatsoever that our investigators [from the NSS] are working within the bounds of the law,” he explained.

Sanasarian’s supporters, among them leaders of some Western-funded non-governmental organizations, have strongly defended him, denouncing the NSS and Vanetsian in particular. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian hit back at the critics last week. He said that they place their personal relationships with Sanasarian above the rule of law.

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