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Three Arrested In Armenia Over Blast Targeting Ex-Lawmaker’s Car


Former lawmaker Melik Manukian’s Ranger Rover vehicle was damaged in the explosion on the Yerevan-Sevan highway

Three people have been arrested in Armenia over an alleged attempt to assassinate a former lawmaker by setting off explosives on the Yerevan-Sevan highway on Friday.

The SUV belonging to Melik Manukian, a businessman who served as a lawmaker in the previous parliament with the faction of tycoon Gagik Tsarukian, was damaged in the incident, but no one was hurt, police said.

It was reported later that Manukian was not inside the Ranger Rover at the time of the explosion. Four people who were in the vehicle are recognized as victims in the case.

The Investigation Committee did not immediately reveal the identities of the arrested people.

It said that explosives had been set up beforehand under a bridge on the highway and were set off at the time the businessman’s vehicle and another car accompanying it were passing by. “The crime was not completed due to circumstances outside the will [of the perpetrator(s)],” investigators added.

The explosion took place not far from a bottle factory owned by Manukian, whose nickname is Shshi Melo (Bottle Melo).

The businessman could not be reached for comment. Earlier, talking to one of the local media outlets, Manukian said he could not say whether it was an attempted murder or just an “accident”.

According to preliminary data, among those arrested as part of the case is also Manukian’s bodyguard, who ignored police orders not to move the businessman’s vehicle from the crime scene.

Last January Manukian’s son Shant was among four people arrested over a high-profile shooting incident at a restaurant owned by his father. He was later released. Eight people were wounded in the shootout, one of them died later.

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