Oskanian is Formally Charged

Oskanian, with his attorney, Tigran Atanesian outside of the National Security Service building on Monday (Photolure)

YEREVAN–Armenia’s former foreign minister Vartan Oskanian on Monday was formally charged by Armenia’s National Security Service with money laundering following months of investigation, which he says is politically motivated.

On Saturday Oskanian received a summons to appear at the NSS on Monday. After spending an hour at the NSS, he was charged with one count of money laundering and one count of misappropriation of funds, stemming from a 2010 $1.4 million donation to his Civilitas Foundation by American businessman Jon Huntsman Sr.

According to Oskanian’s attorney Tigran Atanesian, the former foreign minister was charged with one count each of “embezzlement or waste of funds” and “legalization of incomes received in a criminal way” of the Armenian Criminal Code. If convicted he can face high fines and up to 12 years imprisonment.

“I’ve been invited to the National Security Service to be charged with money laundering and funds misuse. At this point, both the public and those involved in the probe believe the funds appropriation charge to be absurd. I’ll face the NSS only because that’s what the law demands; however, I won’t be testifying,” Oskanian said before entering the NSS building. He also expressed gratitude to his supporters who have launched a petition drive.

Oskanian was asked to present testimony as a “defendant” in the case but refused to answer any questions.

Oskanian was elected to Parliament in May representing the Prosperous Armenia Party. Last week parliament voted to allow his prosecution by lifting his parliamentary immunity. He has insisted that the investigation has been politically motivated and is an effort by President Serzh Sarkisian’s regime to “step up pressure” on him for his criticism of the administration’s policies.

The NSS did not restrict Oskanian’s movement.

Last week former President Robert Kocharian, under whose administration Oskanian served as foreign minister, criticized the investigation and defended Oskanian.

The US Embassy in Yerevan also issued a warning last week saying: “We hope that this case does not represent a politically motivated and selective enforcement of Armenian law, as this would detract from efforts to promote greater transparency and reform in the legal, justice and legislative sectors in Armenia.”

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9 Comments

  1. Simon Dedeyan said:

    National Respect to Vartan Oskanian

    Vartan Oskanian is the first and the only Armenian dedicated politician serving the nation who founded the Civilitas Benevolent Union for the national welfare.
    Civilitas is the second AGBU for the Armenian Nation
    Vartan Oskanian is the second Boghos Nubar for the Armenian Nation.

    Any prejudice to Vartan Oskanian and the Covilitas foundation will be a prejudice to the Armenian Nation.

    Vahan Vanagan

  2. Simon Dedeyan said:

    National Respect to Vartan Oskanian

    Vartan Oskanian is the first and the only Armenian dedicated politician serving the nation who founded the Civilitas Benevolent Union for the national welfare.

    Civilitas is the second AGBU for the Armenian Nation
    Vartan Oskanian is the second Boghos Nubar for the Armenian Nation.

    Any prejudice to Vartan Oskanian and the Covilitas foundation will be a prejudice to the Armenian Nation.
    Simon Dedeyan

  3. hagop hagopian said:

    If he has renounced his american citizenship, why is the US embassy interfering in the internal affairs of the Republic of Armenia?

  4. Hovik said:

    Hold on for a second, The US Embassy issued a warning! for what? No any foreign country allowed to interfere in domestic issues of Republic of Armenia includes US. They better worry about their ongoing issues. Armenian has no OIL to be interfering by US.

  5. Robert said:

    Why don’t they prosecute the true criminals like Dodi Gago and Rubo. Rubo should be charged with being an accessory in murder.

    • ruki said:

      Agreed! Dodi Gago should also be prosecuted for animal cruelty.

      The hegemony of the oligarchs is the main reason why so many foreign Armenians refrain from investing in the country.

  6. levon sanosyan said:

    Does Vartan Oskanian remember his comments on Meghri? Oskanian has no place in Armenian politics and this is final. Let him pack and get out of Armenia for good.

  7. Sako said:

    The nerve of this self-righteous failed diplomat oskanian, claiming that prosecuting his sell-out self for the crime of money-laundering is merely a “political provocation”. He might as well come out and state “I am above the law, I proudly admit I took illegal bribes from foreigners to serve their agenda in Armenia, and there is nothing you can do about it because the bribes came from the United States”. I hope they penalize traitor oskanian to the maximum extent under the law, and after he has served his punishment they strip him of his citizenship and deport him back to the US.

    Gee I wonder what the odds are Asbarez will actually publish my comment? Asbarez didn’t publish my comment the first time, this is round 2. Let’s see if Asbarez is a real news website or a mouthpiece of the state department

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