By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Armenian ex-president Serj Sargsyan has been charged with embezzling around 490 million drams ($1 million) from the state budget.
In early December, the Armenian Special Investigation Service (SIS) announced that Sargsyan was charged with embezzling state funds allocated to provide subsidized fuel to farmers back in 2013. Sargsyan has reportedly meddled in the government tender.
In January 2013, the Armenian government issued a tender for 17 million litres of diesel fuel for the government programme. Numerous companies bid for the contract, including Maxhur, a fuel importer, and Flash, one of Armenia’s main fuel suppliers.
The SIS claims that Sargsyan meddled in the tender process and ensured that Flash - owned by businessman Barsegh Beglaryan known for his close ties with Sargsyan - won despite Maxhur offering a lower price.
There are several reasons for launching investigation against Sargsyan. Some experts believe that Sargsyan is being punished for his critical remarks about Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan made during the European People’s Party (EPP) Congress on November 21.
Another reason might have to do with decline in Pashinyan’s ratings and his attempt to divert public attention from his failed policies. It is worth noting that Pashinyan’s ratings have been dropped to 45 percent, while his approval rating was 90 percent in April 2018, (based on opinion polls conducted on Armenian segment of social networks show even 25 percent).
Confrontations between representatives of current and old authorities boost domestic political turbulence in Armenia.
It should be noted that Serzh Sargsyan is known as a war criminal in Azerbaijan for his involvement in the massacre of Azerbaijani civilians in Nagorno-Karabakh and the Khojaly massacre in 1992.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz