Ex 'Nagorno-Karabakh top commander' faces charges over money laundering and weapons smuggling

Fri 14 July 2017 05:38 GMT | 09:38 Local Time

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The criminal cases instituted against all the individuals involved in the affairs have been submitted to the prosecutor responsible for inquest surveillance.

Armenian National Security Service (NSS) has completed the investigation into the weapons smuggling case involving the so-called 'former top-ranking military official of the Nagorno-Karabakh  Republic', tert.am reports.

The probe established Samvel Babayan’s complicity in the illegal trafficking of a shoulder-fired surface-to-air missile system (Igla) from Georgia in March 2017. Seven individuals are facing charges in the criminal case, the NSS press service reports.

Babayan, the so-called 'commander of Nagorno-Karabakh’s armed forces from 1992 to 1999', was also found involved in a money laundering case. A further investigation revealed that he imported a big consignment of Euro banknotes out of circulation in 2016, using his connections in Russia. Babayan is claimed to have acquired the assets through acquaintances residing in the country with an aim of putting them into circulation in Armenia after chemical cleaning and reprocession.

The NSS has merged the two criminal cases into a single proceeding to ensure a comprehensive, full and objective probe. Based on the results of about 100 interrogations in Armenia, Russia and Georgia, searches and lawful interceptions, a variety of expert examinations conducted in Armenia, and Switzerland (through  the Interpol National Central Bureau), and correspondence with the law enforcement authorities and financial institutions of Italy, Switzerland, Germany and France, Babayan was charged with legitimizing illegally obtained income (Section 1, Article 190, Criminal Code of Armenia) and  procuring, transporting and carrying weapons, ammunition, explosives and explosive devices without legal permission (Section 2, Article 38-235).

The criminal cases instituted against all the individuals involved in the affairs have been submitted to the prosecutor responsible for inquest surveillance. The probe into further circumstances continues.

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