12 Feb 2019 21:19

New charges brought against ex-Armenian president Kocharyan, this time over large bribe

YEREVAN. Feb 12 (Interfax) - Armenia's Special Investigation Service has brought new charges against ex-president Robert Kocharyan, who was earlier arrested on charges of overthrowing the country's constitutional order.

"Kocharyan is indicted under Point 2 of Part 4 of Article 311 of the Armenian Penal Code: taking an extraordinarily large bribe," a spokesperson at the office of Kocharyan's defense attorneys said.

Kocharyan has also been charged under Article 300.1 (overthrowing constitutional order).

The new charges were brought following Armenian businesswoman Silva Hambardzumyan's statement about a bribe she allegedly gave Kocharyan in 2008, the spokesperson said.

Hambardzumyan had spoken at a news conference and accused former presidents Kocharyan and Serzh Sargsyan of taking a bribe in 2008.

"I made a deal with Arabs and to protect it from being attacked, I paid both Armenian President Robert Kocharyan and Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan [in 2008]," Hambardzumyan said. She had signed a $40-million deal to sell shares in a mining company that she owned, she said, without specifying the size of the bribe.

In December 2018, a general-jurisdiction court in Yerevan accepted a lawsuit from Kocharyan seeking the rebuttal of this information, which Kocharyan said constituted libel.