Samvel Mayrapetian held the official opening of his Toyota car dealership in Yerevan, 23 June 2009.
Armenian Tycoon Arrested
Հոկտեմբեր 08, 2018
A wealthy Armenian businessman who has benefited from government connections in the past was arrested at the weekend for reasons that remained unknown on Monday.
“We can confirm that Samvel Mayrapetian was arrested,” a spokeswoman for Armenia’s Special Investigative Service (SIS) told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “But in the interests of the investigation we cannot give any details at the moment.”
The official, Marina Ohanjanian, would not say what Mayrapetian is accused or suspected of.
Under Armenian law, law-enforcement authorities have three days to formally charge or free detainees. As of Monday evening, it was not clear if the SIS has brought any accusations against Mayrapetian.
The businessman is one of the country’s leading real estate developers who also owns a national TV channel and a car dealership. His company was involved in a controversial redevelopment of old districts in downtown Yerevan during the 1998-2008 rule of President Robert Kocharian.
Media outlets critical of the former government for years linked Kocharian’s elder son Sedrak to the Toyota dealership officially belonging to Mayrapetian.
Kocharian is currently under investigation over his role in the deadly breakup of post-election demonstrations in Yerevan staged during the final weeks of his decade-long presidency. Last month, the National Security Service (NSS), a more powerful law-enforcement body, launched a separate corruption inquiry into the embattled ex-president.
The NSS director, Artur Vanetsian, said on September 11 that investigators are scrutinizing what he described as hundreds of millions of dollars worth of assets belonging to Kocharian and his family members. Vanetsian promised two weeks later that their findings will be made public “soon.”
Kocharian has denied enriching himself or his family while in office and accused the current Armenian authorities of waging a political “vendetta” against him. He has only admitted that his two sons are engaged in entrepreneurial activity.
Sedrak Kocharian reportedly filed a defamation suit against Vanetsian last month.