YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Law-enforcement authorities on Monday, December 3, moved to arrest on corruption charges a member of Armenia’s outgoing parliament representing former President Serzh Sargsyan’s Republican Party (HHK).
Armenia’s Office of the Prosecutor-General said that the lawmaker, Aram Harutyunyan, received $14 million in bribes when he served as minister of environment protection from 2007-2014. It said a businesswoman, Silva Hambardzumian, paid the money in 2008 in return for obtaining a dozen mining licenses from Harutyunyan’s ministry.
Hambardzumian likewise claimed to have bribed Harutyunyan through several intermediaries close to him when she spoke to RFE/RL’s Armenian service in late October. She said that the mining licenses were subsequently revoked and that she never got her money back.
The former minister has not yet publicly commented on the allegations.
A statement by the prosecutors said four other individuals, presumably close to Harutyunyan, have already been charged in the corruption case. Two of them are currently on the run, it said without giving any names.
The statement added that investigators hope the parliament will allow them to charge and arrest Harutyunyan.