June 19, 2018 / 6:47 PM / 2 months ago

Armenia arrests former influential official

YEREVAN (Reuters) - The Armenian parliament on Tuesday stripped a member of parliament from the former ruling party of immunity and supported a prosecutor’s motion to launch criminal proceedings against him.

The move is a part of a campaign against corruption initiated by Armenia’s new prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, a former opposition leader, who was elected last month after weeks of mass protests against corruption and cronyism.

General Manvel Grigoryan, who fought in a war between Azerbaijan and Armenian-backed separatists over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh in the early 1990s, was arrested on Saturday after the National Security Service confiscated large quantities of weapons and ammunition from his home.

Prosecutors also suspect Grigoryan, who is the head of the biggest organisation of war veteran, of misappropriating state goods and donations for the army.

Grigoryan denies the charges, his lawyer Karen Kamalyan told journalists on Tuesday.

Prosecutor General Artur Davtyan told journalists that a large number of people, including Grigoryan’s wife, could be involved in the criminal case.

Prime Minister Pashinyan said that the “shocking case” would be investigated thoroughly.

“I’d like to say that apparently we are dealing with the biggest corruption revelation in the republic’s history,” Pashinyan told the government meeting.

Reporting by Hasmik Mkrtchyan; writing by Margarita Antidze; editing by

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