Ex-Senator Chakhmakhchyan Gets Nine Years In Jail


Interfax News Agency
July 17 2008

The Moscow City Court has sentenced the former senator for Kalmykia
Levon Chakhmakhchyan to nine years in jail..

The court found Chakhmakhchyan guilty of fraud, an Interfax
correspondent reported.

The two other defendants – Armen Oganesyan and Igor Arushanov –
received, eight and seven years in jail respectively. All three will
serve their terms in general prisons.

"We have been convicted as hardened terrorists, not as citizens of
the Russian Federation," Chakhmakhchyan said before the verdict was
read out.

All evidence was faked, he said. "This is a vicious trial of persons
of Armenian ethnicity. The case has been utterly falsified," he said.

Chakhmakhchyan pleaded not guilty in a final statement and asked
the court for acquittal. The defense again asked the court to acquit
their clients.

The trial had proceeded behind closed doors at Lefortovo detention

The Prosecutor Generals Office earlier reported that former Senator
Chakhmakhchyan, Audit Chamber inspector Oganesyan (Chakhmakhchyan’s
son- in-law) and chief accountant of the Chakhmakhchyan-headed Russian-
Armenian Business Cooperation Association Arushanov, were suspected of
misappropriating $1.5 million from major airlines through fraudulent

Chakhmakhchyan, in an act abusing his official powers, allegedly
offered to solve an airline’s problems for a charge of $1.5 million.

Most of this sum was to be transferred to dummy firms’ bank accounts
under fraudulent contracts, and $300,000 was to be provided in cash,
according to the Prosecutor General’s Office.

The airline’s management reported the offer to the Audit Chamber and
law enforcement agencies. Chakhmakhchyan, Oganesyan, Arushanov and
other suspects were detained by the Federal Security Service as they
were receiving the cash.