Arsen Galstian

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New Armenian Traffic Police Chief Named


A police colonel has been named to replace Margar Ohanian, the chief of Armenia’s traffic police who was sacked and arrested on corruption charges last week.

The 46-year-old officer, Arsen Galstian, previously served as commander of one of the interior troop units subordinate to the national police service.

The service chief, Lieutenant-General Alik Sargsian, formalized Galstian’s appointment late on Tuesday, a police spokesman told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (

Ohanian, who also has the rank of colonel, was charged with large-scale embezzlement and abuse of power on Friday, crimes punishable by up to eight years in prison. He was formally relieved of his duties on Thursday, two days after his unexpected arrest.

It is still not clear if Ohanian will plead guilty to the accusations stemming from a criminal investigation into the alleged embezzlement of more than 150 tons of fuel that was allotted to police cars.

The Special Investigative Service, which is in charge of the investigation, arrested another senior road police official on August 27. The official, Stepan Karakhanian, was released three days later.

Commenting on the criminal case last week, Sargsian pledged to revamp the road police. The police chief said he and one of his deputies will now personally oversee the day-to-day work of the notoriously corrupt service.