But they insisted that this was not the result of a secret deal cut by Armenia’s government and Mikael Minasian.
A vocal critic of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian, Minasian left the country shortly after he was dismissed as its ambassador to the Vatican in late 2018. The State Revenue Committee (SRC) moved to arrest him in early 2020 after charging him with illegal enrichment, false asset disclosure and money laundering. He rejected the accusations as politically motivated.
According to the Office of the Prosecutor-General, Interpol informed the Armenian police recently that it invalidated an international arrest warrant for Minasian on July 7 as a result of an application filed by the latter.
A spokesman for the law-enforcement agency, Gor Abrahamian, said the prosecutors were unaware of that decision until it was reported by Armenian media. They immediately “took concrete measures” to find the grounds on which Minasian was removed from Interpol’s most wanted list, he said, adding that the once influential ex-diplomat is still wanted by Armenian law-enforcement authorities.
Abrahamian denied a newspaper report which speculated that that Minasian had the Interpol arrest warrant removed in return for a hefty cash payout to Pashinian’s administration or a pledge not to support opposition efforts to topple him.
Minasian actively supported those efforts, both personally and through his Yerevan-based supporters and media outlets, until the June 2021 parliamentary elections. The 44-year-old shut down or sold those outlets shortly after the vote won by Pashinian’s party. He and his loyalists have kept a very low profile since then.
Minasian enjoyed considerable political and economic influence in Armenia when it was ruled by Sarkisian from 2008-2018. He is also thought to have developed extensive business interests in various sectors of the Armenian economy.
Minasian reportedly lived in Russia at least until recently. Russian authorities refrained from arresting or extraditing him to Armenia.