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Former Yerevan Mayor Indicted


Armenia - Yerevan Mayor Taron Markarian speaks at an election campaign rally in the city's Erebuni district, 21Apr2017.

A law-enforcement agency has brought criminal charges against Yerevan’s former Mayor Taron Markarian and three other former government officials.

The Investigative Committee claimed on Thursday that Markarian abused his had powers to sell three plots of municipal land to his cronies from in 2011-2014. The land belonging to public schools was privatized at knockdown prices, it said without specifying financial details of those deals.

In a statement, the committee said that two other former senior officials of Yerevan’s municipal administration as well as Arman Sahakian, a former head of the Armenian government’s Department of State Property Management, have been indicted as part of the same criminal case. It did not elaborate.

Markarian’s lawyer, Benik Galstian, was quick to laugh off the accusations, saying that his client regards them as a “farce.” He claimed investigators are illegally refusing to share with him all materials of the case and that he does not know “what exactly Mr. Markarian is accused of.”

In a Facebook post, Galstian also said that Markarian travelled to Moscow on February 7 for medical treatment and returned to Armenia on February 13 two days after being notified of his impending indictment.

Markarian, 42, served as Yerevan mayor from 2011-2018. Both he and Sahakian are senior members of former President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK).

Markarian’s late father Andranik was Armenia’s prime minister from 2000-2007. The latter headed the HHK until his sudden death in 2007.

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