$100 000 Ransom Offered for Leads in Khorkhoruni Murder Case

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The Armenian authorities will award $100,000 to those who will help investigators track down murderers of Deputy Defense Minister Vahram Khorkhoruni–gunned down last week–the state prosecutors said on Monday.

In a statement distributed to the media–the prosecutor’s office said the money has been pledged by the defense ministry and will be paid to "citizens and investigators who will contribute to solving the crime with their information and activities."

Khorkhoruni was shot dead on Thursday night in front of his apartment building in central Yerevan–with his body riddled with seven bullets. The law-enforcement bodies have been refusing to name possible motives behind the murder currently being in consideration. Observers speculate that the promise of the substantial reward by Armenian standards reward may mean the investigators have failed to ensure the quick arrest of the culprits. The prosecutors’ statement–however–said a "large-scale investigation" is still underway–with all of the law-enforcement agencies involved.

The reward has been allocated from the defense ministry’s funds. But other details remain unknown as ministry officials were not available for comment. An aide to Defense Minister Vazgen Sargsyan told RFE/RL he knows nothing about the $100,000 reward–the first in its kind in Armenia.

Khorkhoruni–who had close ties to the defense minister–one of Armenia’s most powerful men–is the second high-ranking official killed this year. In August–Prosecutor-General Henrik Khachatrian was shot to death in his office by one of his subordinates–according to the official version.

Some speculations linked Khorkhoruni’s murder to the trial of ten men–which began the day before. The prosecutors have alleged that the ten are part of a wider group arrested in January on murder and robbery charges. The late Prosecutor-General Khachatrian had claimed that the "gang" was guilty of assassinating several prominent public figures in Armenia in the early 1990s. The group was allegedly led by Armen Ter-Sahakian–a former police officer.

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