Jailed retired general slapped with new charges, son declared wanted

Authorities have brought new criminal charges against jailed general, former lawmaker Manvel Grigoryan.

Jailed retired general slapped with new charges, son declared wanted

Jailed retired general slapped with new charges, son declared wanted

STEPANAKERT,  FEBRUARY 14, ARTSAKHPRESS-ARMENPRESS: New charges include extortion and tax evasion.

He was initially charged only with illegal possession of firearms and grand theft.

The Special Investigative Service says Grigoryan, together with his wife and son, have illegally acquired massive amounts of firearms and explosives and kept it in various locations, including his private home, as well as a territory owned by the defense ministry of Artsakh.

Authorities have found multiple weapons, handguns, rifles, machine guns, around 20,000 rounds of ammunition, explosives, RPG etc.

The abovementioned firearms were discovered and confiscated earlier in June of 2018 when the general was detained.

In addition, authorities suspect Grigoryan to have committed grand theft of more than 100,000,000 drams worth of property when he served as president of the Yerkrapah Union of Volunteers. His wife and son assisted him in committing the crime, authorities said.

Embezzled property includes various supplies for the military provided by the Armenian and Artsakh defense ministries that were meant for soldiers, including during the 2016 April War days.

Authorities said Grigoryan even used the military food supplies to feed wild animals that he kept in his private zoo.

More than 4300 cans of bottled meat, made for the military, worth around 4,5 million drams in total, were found in his compound. Numerous other food supplies for the army were embezzled by Grigoryan. Grigoryan also embezzled trucks that were designed for the military – a total of eight UAZ vehicles.

The Special Investigative Service said Grigoryan has been involved in tax evasion from his early years of being in office (Deputy Minister of Defense, Member of Parliament, Yerkrapah Union of Volunteers President). He is suspected of tax evasion of more than 1,2 billion drams through a company owned by him and his family.

Grigoryan is also suspected in evading taxes and falsifying financial documents of the Yerkrapah Union.

He also misused more than 1,2 billion drams provided by the education ministry and the defense ministry to the union.

He is also suspected in extortion and racketeering committed in the early 2000s in his hometown of Etchmiatsin. During those days, when he was Deputy Defense Minister, he allegedly extorted a local businessman of a business worth nearly 40,000,000 drams by threatening the latter and his family.

Arman Grigoryan, one of the sons of the general, has been declared wanted.

The preliminary investigation is concluded pending forwarding to court, authorities said.

Grigoryan, a former Member of Parliament, was stripped of immunity by parliament in June 2018 and placed under arrest in suspicion of illegal possession of firearms and grand theft.

At the time of his arrest Grigoryan also served as president of the Yerkrapah Union of Volunteers, but was later ousted by the board of the organization amid highly scandalous accusations.

Law enforcement agencies found a private zoo, a car collection, huge amounts of weapons and ammunition, as well as allegedly embezzled military supplies and donations in his compound. Grigoryan, however, denies any wrongdoing. 

He was released from custody on a 25,000,000 dram bail on December 21, 2018. His release sparked outrage in his hometown of Etchmiatsin.

Later in January he was placed under arrest again following a court decision.

His wife is also charged.