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Investigators Stand By Corruption Charges Against Armenian Official


Armenia -- Davit Sanasarian, head of the State Oversight Service, attends a cabinet meeting in Yerevan, April 18, 2019.

Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS) has completed a criminal investigation that led to corruption charges brought against a senior government official who actively participated in last year’s “Velvet Revolution.”

The NSS indicted Davit Sanasarian, the head of the State Oversight Service (SOS), in April while investigating alleged corrupt practices within the anti-corruption government agency. It arrested two other senior SOS officials in February, saying that they attempted to cash in on government-funded supplies of medical equipment to three hospitals.

Sanasarian was charged with abusing his powers to help his subordinates enrich themselves and a private company linked to them. The official, who was suspended as SOS chief as a result, has repeatedly rejected the accusations as “fabricated.”

Sanasarian’s lawyer, Inessa Petrosian, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service on Wednesday that the NSS probe is over. She said that the investigators essentially stand by the accusations of abuse of power leveled against her client.

Sanasarian and the two other SOS officials will go on trial if the indictments are formally endorsed by prosecutors.

Sanasarian, 35, is a former opposition and civic activist who had for years accused Armenia’s former leaders of corruption. He was actively involved in last year’s revolution which succeeded in large measure because of widespread popular frustration with graft.

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 in April. He said that they place their personal relationships with Sanasarian above the rule of law.

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