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Former Armenian Security Chief ‘Died In Apparent Suicide’


Armenia -- The funeral of former National Security Service Director Georgi Kutoyan, Yerevan, January 20, 2020.

Georgi Kutoyan, a former head of Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS) who was found shot dead on Friday, most probably committed suicide, Prosecutor-General Artur Davtian said over the weekend.

Davtian told reporters that investigators have found “quite a bit of information testifying to a suicide” as he attended a requiem service for Kutoyan held on Saturday. He cautioned, though, that they are continuing to consider other theories of the 38-year-old’s shock death, including murder.

Kutoyan’s body was discovered at a Yerevan apartment belonging to his family. According to the Investigative Committee, he had a gunshot wound to his head.

A spokeswoman for the law-enforcement agency, Naira Harutiunian, said on Monday that investigators have found no “traces of violence” on the body. She also told RFE/RL’s Armenian service that they are awaiting the results of several forensic tests that could shed more light on Kutoyan’s death.

A deputy head of the Investigative Committee, Artur Melikian, said on Friday that his officers found dozens of bullets and spent cartridge cases in the apartment.

In a written statement released on Saturday, the Investigative Committee said it has established that Kutoyan fired 35 gunshots at an apartment wall after “consuming alcohol” there in late December. He was killed by a bullet fired from the same pistol legally owned by him, said the statement.

Armenia -- Police officers cordon off an apartment building in Yerevan where former National Security Service Director Georgi Kutoyan was found dead, January 17, 2020.
Armenia -- Police officers cordon off an apartment building in Yerevan where former National Security Service Director Georgi Kutoyan was found dead, January 17, 2020.

Kutoyan and his family did not live in the apartment in question. According to the Investigative Committee, the former NSS chief went there the day before his death after telling his loved ones that he wants to “rest there for two or three days.” The committee statement also said that Kutoyan, who reportedly studied in Britain, “returned” to Armenia on December 9.

A lawyer by education, Kutoyan had worked as an assistant to President Serzh Sarkisian from 2011 until his surprise appointment as director of Armenia’s most powerful security agency in February 2016. He was sacked by newly elected Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian in May 2018 immediately after the “Velvet Revolution” that toppled Sarkisian.

Sarkisian was reportedly shocked by the unexpected death of his former aide. The 65-year-old ex-president attended the requiem service and Kutoyan’s funeral on Monday as did most of his top loyalists. He refused to talk reporters.

Kutoyan is the second former senior security official found shot to death in the last four months. Hayk Harutiunian, a former chief of the Armenian police, was found dead in his country house in September. Investigators suggested that he committed suicide.

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