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Prosecutors Block Trial Of Former Armenian Police Chief


Armenia - Natonal police chief Vladimir Gasparian meets with police officers in Kotayk region, February 23, 2017.

Prosecutors have refused to give the green light to the trial of Vladimir Gasparian, a former chief of the Armenian police facing corruption charges, saying that a criminal investigation conducted by another law-enforcement agency was flawed.

The recently formed agency, the Anti-Corruption Committee, charged Gasparian with six counts of illegal enrichment, embezzlement, fraud and other crimes in early December. In particular, it claimed that he acquired over 2 billion drams ($4.1 million) worth of assets “by criminal means” when holding high-level positions in Armenia’s security apparatus from 2000-2018.

Gasparian denies the accusations. But he has avoided publicly commenting on them.

The Anti-Corruption Committee announced last week that it has completed the investigation and sent its findings to prosecutors for approval.

The Office of the Prosecutor-General told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service on Tuesday that it has sent the case back to the law-enforcement body for further investigation. It gave no reasons for the decision.

The Anti-Corruption Committee condemned the decision as “illegal and unfounded” and said it will ask a more high-ranking prosecutor to overturn it.

“We are more than convinced, though, that that will be fruitless because we believe key decisions on such important cases are made at the highest level of prosecution,” read a statement released by the committee.

Gasparian, 63, headed the Armenian police from 2011-2018, during former President Serzh Sarkisian’s rule. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian sacked him immediately after coming to power in May 2018.

Gasparian had served as military police chief from 1997-2010 and as deputy defense minister from 2010-2011.

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