YEREVAN (Combined Sources)—Armenia’s Prosecutor General’s office announced Tuesday that no charges would be brought against notorious oligarch Ruben Hayrapetian, who is known as Nemetz Rubo, for beating up the majority shareholder and chief executive officer of Air Armenia, Arsen Avetisyan, despite Hayrapetian’s own admission of responsibility.
Avetisyan said that Hayrapetian beat him up, sending him to the hospital for a broken nose and other injuries. The altercation stemmed from a business dispute, in which Hayrapetian claimed he was asked to mediate an alleged debt collection from Avetisyan for a close relative, whose identity has not been revealed. Hayrapetian claimed that the third party had “ceded” the debt to him for collection.
Avetisyan met with Hayrapetian, who is the chairman of the Armenia’s National Soccer Federation (FFA) at the league’s headquarters, a day after a Ukrainian company, the East Prospect Fund, announced the acquisition of a 49-percent stake in Air Armenia valued at $68 million.
According to Avetisyan, Hayrapetian began punching him when the discussion became heated. On August 20, however, Avetisyan announced that he would accept a “reconciliation” deal offered by Hayrapetian and no charges would be filed.
“My partners have asked me to demonstrate a reasonable approach to the problem and accept the extended hand of reconciliation. They have also called on me to take into account every detail concerning the future of the airline when making decisions,’ Avetisyan said in a statement last week.
Prosecutors said that Hayrapetian acknowledged punching and repeatedly kicking Avetisyan when he was questioned by law-enforcement officials last week. They said that Hayrapetian confirmed that the violence stemmed from Air Armenia’s failure to repay an outstanding debt to one of his “friends.”
News of Avetisyan’s beating was made public by his wife, Izabella Melkumyan, who also alleged that her husband was kidnapped. However, later investigation revealed the kidnapping allegations to be untrue. Melkumyan has since circulated an open letter to President Serzh Sarkisian, who counts Hayrapetian as one of his allies, urging the leader to take action.
Hayrapetian is no stranger to controversy. In 2012 three Armenian Armed Forces medics were attacked at Yerevan’s Harsnakar restaurant, which is owned by Hayrapetian. One of the doctors, Major Vahe Avetian died as a result of injuries sustained in the attack, while his other two colleagues sustained serious injuries.
In 2014, six men who were identified as Hayrapetian’s bodyguards were convicted of Avetian’s murder and were sentenced to 12 years in prison. Hayrapetian, however, was not charged, but the public outcry forced him to resign his seat in parliament. He retained his position as FAA president.