30 Apr 2019 14:31

Ex-Armenian President Kocharyan charged with taking $3 mln bribe - Prosecutor's Office

YEREVAN. April 30 (Interfax) - Former Armenian President Robert Kocharyan, who is currently under arrest for an attempt to overthrow the constitutional system, has also been charged with receiving a $3 million bribe, the Armenian Prosecutor General's Office said in its indictment.

According to the document, Kocharyan took advantage of his powers to help a mining company owned by entrepreneur Silva Hambardzumyan.

The Armenian Special Investigation Service said earlier that it had completed a preliminary investigation into a criminal case concerning events in March 2008, in which Kocharyan, former Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan, former Deputy Defense Minister and former Collective Security Treaty Organization Secretary General Yury Khachaturov, and former presidential chief of staff and Deputy Prime Minister Armen Gevorgyan were indicted. Kocharyan was charged with an attempt to overthrow the constitutional system and receiving a massive bribe.

The case files and the indictment have been sent to court.

The criminal case concerns events that occurred in 2008, when Kocharyan was preparing to hand over presidency to Serzh Sargsyan, who had won the presidential election. Supporters of another candidate, Levon Ter-Petrosyan, rejected the official outcome and staged protests. On March 1, 2008, security forces dispersed thousands of protesters. Ten people were killed and over 250 injured in riots.

Incumbent Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan was a member of Ter-Petrosyan's campaign staff in 2008. Following the 2008 riots, Pashinyan was declared wanted, and he surrendered to the authorities in 2009. In January 2010, he was sentenced to seven years in prison on charges of organizing mass unrest. He was pardoned in May 2011.

After being elected prime minister, Pashinyan said the 'March 1 case' would be reviewed.