YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Yerevan’s Mayor Gagik Beglarian was forced to step down on Wednesday after reportedly beating up a member of President Serge Sargisian’s staff. The resignation was announced by the mayor’s office just hours after Sargisian effectively confirmed and condemned through a spokesman Beglarian’s involvement in the assault on Aram Kandayan, an official at the presidential administration’s protocol unit.
According to media reports, Kandayan incurred the ire of Beglarian after asking the latter’s wife not to sit next to Sargisian during the November 3 concert of Placido Domingo, the worldfamous Spanish tenor. Such seats have traditionally been reserved for Armenia’s prime minister, parliament speaker and the supreme head of the Armenian Apostolic Church.
Beglarian, who did not attend the concert, allegedly drove Kandayan to one of his properties in Yerevan and beat up the young official there the next day. Reports claimed that Sargisian was infuriated by the incident and demanded an official apology from the mayor.
“Unfortunately, an incident did take place,” the presidential press secretary, Armen Arzumanian said. “But the media have exaggerated it. In particular, there was no kidnapping or brutal beating.”
“The president has repeatedly made clear his position on such deeds,” said Arzumanian. “Namely, such a conduct is unacceptable and intolerable. The more so in the case of a state official.”
Neither Beglarian nor his alleged victim could be reached for comment throughout the day. The press office of the Yerevan municipality also did not respond to phone calls.