Armenia's Appeals Court Rejects Motion to Drop Arrest Warrant for Former Environment Minister
Armenia’s Court of Appeals today rejected a motion to overturn a lower court’s decision to arrest former Armenian Minister of Nature Protection Aram Harutyunyan, charged with taking bribes and money laundering while minister in 2008.
The news was related to Hetq by Harutyunyan’s lawyer Karen Hakobyan.
Yerevan’s General Court of Jurisdiction issued Harutyunyan’s arrest warrant on January 18.
Harutyunyan’s whereabouts are unknown and a manhunt has been launched,
Armenia’s Prosecutor General filed the charges after a Special Investigative Service probe concluded that Harutyunyan received US$14 million in bribes when handing out ten exploratory mining permits in Syunik, Lori and Gegharkunik Provinces.
The investigation also revealed that Harutyunyan had opened several overseas bank accounts under different names to make money transfers.
The SIS revealed that Harutyunyan, with the help of confidantes, funneled $8 million of the above $14 million to Switzerland via a bank in the UAE.
After leaving the post of environment minister in 2014, Harutyunyan was appointed Kotayk Provincial Governor.