Kristine Aghalaryan

Three Armenian Citizens Arrested in Tbilisi for Selling Uranium Worth $200 Million

Three citizens of Armenia and three of Georgia were arrested yesterday in Tbilisi on charges of selling US$200 million worth of uranium-238.

Davit Abesatze, lawyer of one of the arrested individuals, stated that four of the six are aged 74-75 and that two of them are Armenian citizens, and the other two Georgian citizens.

The lawyer also stated that the arrested have claimed they are innocent of the charges.

Georgian state investigator Savleh Motishvili told the local press that transportation containers full of uranium-238 were found in the house of one of those arrested.

If found guilty of illegally trading in nuclear material or equipment, those arrested face from 5-10 years’ imprisonment.  

Two days ago the Tbilisi Civil Court issued an order detaining the six individuals while an investigation is launched.

This is not the first time that citizens of Armenia have been arrested in Georgia for selling radioactive material. In January of this year, Georgian security personnel arrested three individuals charged with selling cesium-137.

Two Armenian citizens were seized at the Sadakhlo border crossing between Armenia and Georgia in August 2014 as they attempted to smuggle an undisclosed amount of cesium-137 from Armenia into Georgia.

In 2010, Armenian citizens Sumbat Tonoyan and Hrant Ohanyan were sentenced by a Georgian court to 14 and 13 years respectively after being found guilty of smuggling radioactive materials into the country and of illegal trafficking.