Investigation Launched On Armenian Olympic Committee Scandal

YEREVAN (Reuters)–A criminal investigation has been launched into the executive director of the Armenian Olympic committee and its former chairman for suspected theft–prosecutors said on Friday. A spokesman for the prosecutor’s office said the case had been opened against Armenian Olympic Committee executive director Gagik Chobanyan and former chairman Benur Pashayan.

The spokesman declined to give details of the investigation but the current chairman of the Olympic committee–Ishkhan Zakaryan–said the case involved the alleged theft of $100,000. Zakaryan–also deputy sports minister–told a meeting of the Olympic committee that Chobanyan was given the funds while in Sydney. He said the money had come from the International Olympic Committee and was meant to cover the expenses of Armenian Olympic delegates who had traveled to Australia.

Zakaryan said Chobanyan had remained in Australia after the Olympics finished–although he had no details of where he was now. Zakaryan did not mention Pashayan in his remarks. Neither Chobanyan nor Pashayan could be reached for comment.

“We must take this case to the end,” Zakaryan told around 100 delegates at the committee meeting. He said the delay in taking action over the alleged theft had been because Armenian Olympics officials had decided to wait to see if Chobanyan would appear. Zakaryan said the next step in the prosecutors’ case would be to ask Interpol to seek Chobanyan if he was abroad.


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