Armed Bodyguards Of Armenian Tycoon Detained In Yerevan

Armenia - President Serzh Sarkisian awards a state medal to businessman Samvel Aleksanian (R) in Yerevan, 26 September 2015.

The Armenian police have detained five bodyguards of wealthy businessman and lawmaker Samvel Aleksanian.

According to a police official, during the detentions that took place in the center of Yerevan on Wednesday the bodyguards possessed weapons. The legality of these weapons is being currently verified, the source said.

Earlier today Aleksanian, who has close ties to the former ruling Republican Party, gave assurances that he was not an “oligarch” and had no bodyguards.

The police also confirmed reports about the brief detention of bodyguards of businessman Khachatur Sukiasian. They, however, were released because they did not possess any weapons, the report said.

Following a scandal with the wiretapping of telephone conversations between the chiefs of the National Security Service (NSS) and the Special Investigation Service, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian ordered law-enforcement bodies to carry out raids and disarm illegally armed bodyguards working for “oligarchs” and some former high-ranking officials.

He claimed that people connected with these circles “have acquired wiretapping equipment and created their own ‘special services’ working in parallel with the special services of the State.”

“All of these so-called ‘special services’ will be identified and destroyed. All groups possessing weapons illegally will be disarmed. I order the police and the National Security Service to start raids immediately,” Pashinian said at a rally in Yerevan yesterday.

The police and the NSS said earlier today that the prime minister’s order was executed and promised to publish relevant information when deemed appropriate.