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Ex-President’s Indicted Brother Again Allowed To Leave Armenia


Armenia -- Aleksandr Sarkisian is taken in for questioning by the National Security Service, Yerevan, July 4, 2018.

Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS) has again allowed an indicted brother of Armenia’s former President Serzh Sarkisian to temporarily leave the country.

An NSS spokesman, Samson Galstian, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service on Monday that Aleksandr Sarkisian needs to undergo medical treatment abroad. He would not say in which country Sarkisian will receive it and for how long.

Sarkisian was already allowed by the NSS to travel to Europe in March. Investigators told him to return to Armenia in late April for further questioning.

The NSS charged Sarkisian with fraud in February several months after freezing his $30 million Armenian bank account as part of a separate inquiry. It announced shortly afterwards that he has donated $19.6 million from that account to the Armenian military. It said the state will also receive the rest of the sum in payment of Sarkisian’s back taxes.

The fraud charges stem from over a dozen drawings by the 20th century Armenian painter Martiros Saryan which were found in Aleksandr Sarkisian’s Yerevan villa in July. The NSS said his fugitive son Narek had fraudulently obtained them from Saryan’s descendants.

Narek Sarkisian, 37, fled Armenia in June 2018 before being charged with illegal arms possession and drug trafficking. The Czech police detained him in Prague in December on an Armenian arrest warrant. Armenian prosecutors have since been seeking his extradition.

Aleksandr Sarkisian’s second son, Levon, is currently standing trial on charges of attempted murder and illegal arms possession which he strongly denies. The 33-year-old was arrested in July and freed on bail in September.

Sarkisian, 62, is thought to have made a big fortune in the past two decades. He held a seat in the Armenian parliament from 2003-2011.

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