Mellat Case Defendant Pleads Not Guilty

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Defendant Hovanes Melikian charged with accepting bribes–in the Iranian Mellat Bank began is testimony Wednesday–pleading not guilty to charges ascribed to him.

According to him–earlier–following a recommendation by defendant Samvel Ajapaghian–he took a credit of $80,000 at the Yerevan branch of the Mellat bank and that was the only time he had any contact with the bank.

Melikian reported that he heard some rumors circulating in the city that bank officials were taking bribes for the credits–but he confessed that nobody demanded any money from him.

The defendant reported that he did not witness how $26,000 were passed over and was not present at the talk about the bribe–but heard about it from witness Grigor Tonoyan.

The latter–following the indictment–bribed the bank officials with $26,000 in exchange for a $310,000-worth credit.

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