ARF to be Sued for Making Corruption Allegations

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The Armenian Revolutionary Federation will face a series of libel suits from a large group of political opponents–formerly and currently associated with former leader Levon Ter-Petrosyan–whom the party has accused of corruption and embezzlement.

Some of the politicians told RFE/RL on Monday and others were earlier quoted by the newspaper "Aravot" as saying that they plan to take the ARF to court after it mentioned their names in a list of former government officials who had allegedly made huge fortunes while in power.

The list was made public last Friday at an ARF rally in Yerevan and contained the names of officials who speakers alleged had "robbed" and "plundered" the country during the privatization process.

The list included former national security and customs chiefs–a Yerevan mayor–provincial governor and top parliamentarians.

One of the accused politicians–former governor of the Lori province–Vigen Khachatrian–accused the ARF of engaging in "blackmail" as the "only way to reaffirm themselves." Khachatrian said he will sue the party to "eradicate their disgusting style." Yerjanik Abgarian–former customs department chief–said the law-enforcement agencies should take action over the "groundless" and "irresponsible" accusations.

ARF Executive Council of Armenia member Gegham Manukian on Monday dismissed the condemnation statemen’s by "people who have led Armenia to a deep crisis." He said his party has sufficient evidence to support its allegations and present them to court.

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