Baku Places Armenian CEO on Interpol Wanted List for Visiting Karabakh
BAKU (Public Radio of Armenia)—Azerbaijan has reportedly asked Interpol to find and arrest Swiss citizen of Armenian descent and CEO of Franck Muller Group, Vartan Sirmakes, ABC.az reports.
According to sources, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Azerbaijan has said that the National Central bBureau of Interpol under the Ministry of Internal Affairs has already started its pursuit of legal actions against Sirmakes.
“Yesterday, the Nasimi district court of Baku chose for Sirmakes a measure of restraint in [the] form of detention in connection with a criminal case initiated against him under three articles of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan,” the Prosecutor’s Office said.
Sirmakes is charged under Article 281.2, public calls against the state; 318.2, illegal crossing of the state border of Azerbaijan; and 192.2.2, illegal business. The charges were brought after Sirmakes, without official permission from Azerbaijan, visited Nagorno-Karabakh, where according to the Prosecutor’s Office, he was involved in an “illegal business” and made “open calls against the Azerbaijani state.”
By putting Swiss citizen Vartan Sirmakes on the Interpol wanted list, Azerbaijan once again demonstrates its real face, David Babayan, spokesman for the Nagorno-Karabakh President, told ArmInfo when commenting on Azerbaijan’s decision to place Sirmakes on the Interpol wanted list.
Babayan said that suchactions by Baku in the 21st century are neither moral nor democratic. “The international community should respond to these actions of Azerbaijan, especially [because] Vartan Sirmakes is an ethnic Armenian and has every right to visit both Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. In addition, Sirmakes is Armenia’s Consul General to Marseilles, and Azerbaijan’s actions are unacceptable and demonstrate the real face of Baku,” Babayan said.
He stressed that the fascist system of Azerbaijan will get no dividends from such actions, because they will deliver a serious blow to the image of Azerbaijan and the Azerbaijani people.
Turan reports that on November 11, the Narimanov District Court of Baku chose arrest as a measure of restraint for Sirmakes. In order to arrest him, Azerbaijan has applied to Interpol.
Earlier, the Azerbaijani Prosecutor General’s Office applied to Switzerland to hold Sirmakes criminally responsible for “illegally” visiting Karabakh and conducting business there.
“Sirmakes, a co-founder and CEO of Franck Muller Group, together with a group of persons, was engaged in illegal economic activities in the occupied Azerbaijani territories. Thus, to internationally promote the illegal regime established in the occupied territories, Sirmakes took part in the opening of the gold mine in one of the villages in Nagorno Karabakh without the consent of the relevant state bodies of Azerbaijan. The Investigation Department for Grave Crimes of the Prosecutor General’s Office filed a lawsuit under Articles 318.2 (illegal crossing of the border of the Azerbaijan Republic), 281.2 (open calls against the state) and 192.2.2 (illegal business) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan,” Turan reported.
In addition to being CEO of Swiss watchmaker Franck Muller, Sirmakes is also the majority shareholder of ArmSwissBank (80%) and Artsakhbank (25.6%). Sirmakes plans to invest $150 million in the Old Yerevan project to revitalize the historic neighborhood of the city. Additionally, a fish breeding enterprise has been set up in the village of Madaghis in Karabakh with the financial support of Sirmakes. By Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian’s decree, Sirmakes was appointed Armenia’s Consul General to France residing in Marseilles.
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