YEREVAN, July 22. / ARKA /. The Armenian Culture Development Fund has expressed serious concern today over the arrest of a wealthy Armenian businessman, Levon Hayrapetyan, 65, a native of Nagorno-Karabakh known for his business projects and charity in his homeland.
He was arrested by Russian Federal Security Service upon arriving in Moscow on July 15 and is accused of some illegal dealings connected with a Russian oil company, Bashneft.
In a statement distributed to mass media, the president of the Armenian Culture Development Fund, Metso Igityan, says Armenians hope that the Russian law enforcement and judicial authorities will consider all available evidence and clear Levon Hayrapetyan of the alleged wrongdoing.
“The Fund has no doubt that Hayrapetyan’s large-scale public activity and numerous charity projects were aimed at bringing prosperity to Russia, Armenia and his homeland - Nagorno-Karabakh, where he built roads, schools and kindergartens. Hayrapetyan did much for the development and strengthening of Russian-Armenian relations, for support of prominent figures of the two countries. He is known as one of the strongest lobbyists for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire,’ the statement says.
The statement says also that Hayrapetyan is seriously ill having diabetes and had recently a stroke and placing him behind bars would kill him.
‘Levon Hayrapetyan is certainly a talented man. Today he is in dire need of assistance. He is charged with an economic crime and in accordance with Russian law he may be put under house arrest,’ the statement says.
“The Armenian Culture Development Fund requests that Russian law enforcement agencies and judicial authorities take into account the health condition of Hayrapetyan and allow him to be confined to his house pending investigation or trial.”
According to some media reports, Levon Hayrapetyan is expected to be officially charged on July 24. Last Thursday, a Moscow court allowed his two-month imprisonment while investigators conduct a probe into his alleged criminal connections and involvement in some illegal financial dealings. -0-