MOSCOW (Combined Sources)—A Moscow court on Friday decided to place Karabakh businessman Levon Hayrapetian under house arrest, releasing him from jail. Also on Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin remarked that he would not intervene in the case, but expressed hope that matter would be resolved outside of criminal courts.
Speaking at an investment forum in Moscow on Friday, Putin said he would not intervene in the case that involves Russian oil giant Bashnevt, for which Hayrapetian was detained and indicted.
“I hope that all solutions will be found not within criminal law, but rather based on civil law and in arbitration,” said Putin, signaling a possible easing of the government’s position to file criminal charges against principals involved in the legal case, including Hayrapetian.
On Wednesday, Russia’s Human Rights Ombudswomen Alla Pafilova announced that her office was watching the Hayrapetian case closely and has sent inquiries to officials directly involved with the case.
Highlighting the importance of effective cooperation with Armenia’s ombudsman Karen Andreasian, the Russian ombudswoman’s representative gave assurances that the work is underway and results will be reported later.
On September 12, a Moscow court extended Hayrapetyan’s arrest despite his attorney’s appeals on the grounds that Hayrapetian is seriously ill and requires medical supervision. The court set bail at 30 million rubles (approximately $76,000).
Earlier in September, a second criminal case was files against Hayrapetian.
Hayrapetian, 65, was arrested by Russian Federal Security Service officials on July 15. A Moscow court allowed the businessman’s two-month imprisonment while investigators conducted a probe into his alleged criminal connections and involvement in some illegal financial dealings. He was officially charged on July 24 with money laundering and embezzlement and his shares in the Russian oil company Bashneft, said to be worth $8.5 million were frozen.
Hayrapetian is considered to be one of the wealthiest Armenians in the world. He is known to have invested millions of dollars into developing Nagorno-Karabakh’s infrastructure and renovating the area’s historical-cultural monuments. His charity included a mass wedding for hundreds of Karabakh couples in 2008 and sponsorship of the construction of a military college in Martakert.