YEREVAN, October 2. / ARKA /. Armenia’s National Assembly voted Tuesday to strip ex-foreign minister Vartan Oskanian of his parliamentary immunity sought by the prosecutor general. Vartan Oskanian who served as Armenia’s foreign minister from 1998 to 2008, was elected to parliament in 2012 May 6 elections on Prosperous Armenia’s party’s ticket.
Vartan Oskanian is accused by the National Security Service (NSS) of money-laundering stemming from a lavish donation made to Civilitas Foundation, a Yerevan think -tank founded by Oskanian, by US philanthropist Jon Huntsman Sr. in 2010. The money was generated by the sale of a construction materials plant that was built by Huntsman in Yerevan in the early 1990s.
Speaking to parliament today prosecutor general Aghvan Hovsepian said the preliminary investigation had established sufficient evidence that Oskanian appropriated a large amount of money, meant for charity.
Of 131 lawmakers only 71 participated in the vote of whom 64 endorsed the petition of the prosecutor general, six voted against and one vote was invalidated. Earlier prosecutor general said the investigation into the case was in progress and stripping Oskanian of his immunity did not entail to his detention or deprivation of deputy mandate.
The parliamentary factions of Prosperous Armenia, Heritage, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) and the Armenian National Congress walked out of the hall before voting.
In a related development the Union of Armenians of Russia denied disseminating a statement in which it ostensibly called on the Armenian parliament to decline prosecutor general’s petition, saying it was a fake and it had no relation to it. The vice –president of the Union, Lusik Ghukasian, told Novosti Armenia that the false statement was not sent from the email address of the Union.
"We do not have such an e-mail address. It could be a provocation and so far we can not say why it was done,” she said. -0-