Armenia’s former governments knew full well about retired General Manvel Grigoryan’s illegal activities and corruption but prevented law enforcement bodies from arresting and prosecuting him, a former member of the Republican Party of Armenia told reporters on Wednesday.
“They [law-enforcement bodies] now have permission to catch him [Grigoryan] and they caught him,” said Artur Gevorgyan, a Republican Party of Armenia lawmaker who defected from his party after former prime minister Serzh Sarkisian resigned. They didn’t have permission before so they didn’t catch him.”
Gevorgyan, told journalists on Wednesday that there are even more corrupt people in the country than Grigoryan, who was arrested Saturday on charges of illegal weapons possession and embezzlement. Grigoryan was stripped on his parliamentary immunity on Tuesday and swiftly charged grand theft and possession of illegal weapons and was remanded to custody.
Gevorgyan, who is the son-in-law of Armenia’s former police chief Vladimir “Vova” Gasparyan, said that Manvel Grigoryan is probably not on the top-100 list of corrupt individuals in Armenia.
What hastened the parliament’s decision to allow Grigoryan to be prosecuted was video released by Armenia’s National Security Service showing stockpiles of weapons, ammunition, vehicles, a zoo and canned goods earmarked for soldiers fighting in the 2016 April War in Grigoryan’s properties in and around Etchmiadzin.
On Tuesday, two trucks were seized containing more canned goods slated for use by the military. The drivers of the truck told police that Grigoryan’s wife, Nazik Amiryan, had ordered the transfer of the canned food from the headquarters of the Yerkrapah Veterans’ Union, an organization her husband has chaired for decades.
On Wednesday, the police in Artsakh raided Grigoryan’s home in the Ara Ler area of Artsakh and seized large amounts of canned meat, cigarettes, military underwear and clothing, hygiene supplies, bandages, petrol, 7.62 and 5.45 mm bullets all earmarked for use by the military.
Also on Wednesday, Armenia’s Special Investigative Service issued an announcement about a charity that Grigoryan had established an eponymous charity in 2013 and solicited donations from individuals and organization, who made direct deposits in the charity’s bank account.
“There are concerns that it is possible that the sums did not enter the charity fund or in the future were spent not for those purposes. We ask all citizens and organization that made donations in cash or by transfers to the mentioned Fund to apply to the Special Investigation Service of Armenia,” said the statement published on Wednesday.