15 Sep 2018 14:13

Oligarchs' guards disarmed because everyone is equal before law - Armenian PM

YEREVAN. Sept 15 (Interfax) - Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has commented on his recent order to disarm bodyguards of oligarchs.

"All citizens of the republic are equal before the law and the task of the police and the National Security Service is to ensure this equality," he told reporters on Saturday, replying to a question as to whether he was pleased with the results of the implementation of his order.

On September 11, Pashinyan instructed National Security Service director Artur Vanetsyan and police chief Valery Osipyan to investigate the scandal involving suspected tapping of a telephone conversation.

"I think the tapping of a conversation between the heads of the National Security Service and the Special Investigative Service amounts to conspiracy. I said that some oligarchs and officials in this country have created their own national security service. I hereby direct that the authors of the tapping should be promptly identified and face toughest punishment," Pashinyan said at a meeting as part of the Yerevan mayoral election campaign on Tuesday evening.

"I instruct the police and national security chiefs, high-ranking officials, to raid the oligarchs now, take all their security guards out onto the road and disarm them. Report to me progress and results in two hours," Pashinyan said.

He said he assumes all responsibility for notorious arrests. "I officially declare that from now on I assume political responsibility for all arrests of political and public importance," Pashinyan said, noting that this mandate was given to him by the people.