By Ani Mejlumyan
YEREVAN (Eurasia.net) – The Armenian authorities have detained a former defense minister and a major arms dealer on charges related to purchases of faulty weaponry.
The National Security Service (NSS) announced on September 30 that it had detained former defense minister Davit Tonoyan on charges of “embezzlement of large sums of money, falsifications, committing publicly dangerous acts.” The NSS also detained David Galstyan, the head of a defense contractor supplying weapons to the Armenian armed forces. Together, the two are charged with stealing approximately 2.3 billion drams ($4.7 million).
The case involves the purchase of missiles – the seller, type of missile, or year when they were purchased was not identified – that were produced between 1985 and 1991. The NSS also said that “large-scale” investigations are continuing to fully uncover the chain of crimes and all the people involved.
On September 25, the NSS – citing the same amount of embezzled money – said that it had arrested another senior military figure, the head of the aviation department of the armed forces. According to the NSS, the officer knew in 2011 that the missiles were faulty and unusable, but bought them anyway. The statement did not name the officer, but from 2009 to 2019 that post was held by Major General Avetik Muradyan.
“Some of the missiles failed to fire shortly after delivery, and were taken out of the arsenal. The rest were not used at all, including during the 44-day war that began on September 27, 2020,” the NSS said in its statement. Deputy Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces Stepan Galstyan was also questioned in the case, the NSS reported.