The accused is released, but the charges remain uncharged

Hayots Ashkharh Daily, Armenia
Sept 8 2007

THE ACCUSED IS REALEASED, BUT THE CHARGES REMAIN UNCHAGED, AGHVAN
HOVSEPYAN SAYS

As we know, ex-Foreign Minister Alexander Arzoumanyan has been
released. A criminal proceeding on charges of legalizing illicit
income (the matter is addressed to the sum of USD 178 thousand,
transferred to Armenia by Levon Marcos on the names of different
people) was instituted against Mr. Arzoumanyan at the beginning of
May. Whereas, by a court decision made exactly 6 days ago, the term
of his arrest was prolonged by 2 months.

In response to the questions of the correspondents of `Hayots
Ashkharh’, `Liberty’ radio station and `Aravot’ daily Prosecutor
General AGHVAN HOVSEPYAN touched upon this issue as well. The thing
is that the investigative group, sent to Moscow on mission, has
accomplished its task, returned to Yerevan and reported on the data
obtained. As a result of the overall investigation of the materials,
the Prosecutor General arrived at the thought that `Within the
frameworks of the criminal proceeding, our law enforcement agencies
have done their best in Armenia and Russia; all the investigative
operations have been carried out.’ It only remains to wait for the
answer of the RF law enforcement officials, to whom the General
Prosecutor’s office has addressed a motion on the full detection of
the case.
Considering that this process, `will probably take a long time,’
A. Hovsepyan arrived at the conclusion that it was no longer
expedient to keep A. Arzoumanyan under arrest. Therefore he has
issued a directive on changing the precautionary means, `Arzoumanyan
has been released, on condition of not leaving the Republic according
to his signature. However, the charges against Mr. Arzoumanyan remain
unchanged, and he remains in the status of an accused party within
the frames of the criminal case.’
In the estimation of the Prosecutor General, the mechanism on the
transfer of the illicit dollars, `provides a full evidence for the
crime of money laundering. Those sums were obtained from Russia
through illegal bank transfers, and the fact is proven by the case.
The sums were received in Armenia by some placemen.
In the meantime, from the initial stage of the case up to now,
those who were to receive those sums were unable to give
explanations, substantiate the purposes and the necessity of
receiving the money.’
The law enforcement agencies, especially the security structures,
should in the near future try, `to prove that those sums were
obtained illicitly; and this has to be done by our colleagues in
Russia,’ A. Hovsepyan stated.
Unfortunately, `as shown by the international practice, the
detection of crimes related to money laundering is difficult and
takes a long time, because they, as a rule, are related to the bank
system of different countries and have bearing on different
legislations, different provisions of the Criminal Code and different
mechanisms in general.’
The accusation against Mr. Arzoumanyan specifies that the illicit
money was transferred by Levon Marocs, currently under investigation
by the RA law enforcement agencies. Considering his being an RA
citizen, the case has been sent to Russia and is now under the
proceeding of the RF Prosecutor’s office.
Moreover, despite the fact that our authorities’ motion on
surrendering Mr. Arzoumanyan was rejected, `he is still under
investigation. At the initial stage, there was evidence that those
transfers were made through him. Later it turned out that a third
person was involved in the affair, and the latter confessed that the
sums had been transferred. The materials of the criminal case make it
obvious that this person and Levon Marcos had a joint enterprise and
worked together.’
Those circumstances, according to the Prosecutor General, `have
still to be checked and clarified. The inquest is still under way,
and based on the evidence obtained, relevant decisions will be made.’
Whether the decision on changing the precautionary measure was
conditioned by the universal hue-and-cry around the political
persecutions against Mr. Arzoumanyan? In response to our question,
the speaker assured that, `all the investigative, operative and
inquisitive activities carried out within the frameworks of the
criminal case, as well as the decisions made are purely of legal
character.’ That’s to say, they have no bearing on the ex-Foreign
Minister’s `political activity’, which, as A. Hovsepyan believes, has
not put him on the map in terms of outstanding episodes, at least
during the recent years.
Moreover, `Alik Arzoumanyan himself is unable to substantiate the
mechanisms of receiving those sums and makes no statement as to who
they were obtained from, in what way and with what purposes.
Therefore, within the frameworks of criminal law, it is improper to
speak about political persecution because, I repeat, all the actions
were performed and the decisions – made on the legal domain.’ And in
general, despite the fact that the persistant rumors on political
persecutions have recently become more active than ever, `all kinds
of activities by law enforcement agencies and all kinds of
criminal-legal issues related to fight against crime, on the
contrary, become politicized.’

LILIT POGHOSYAN
From: Baghdasarian

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