August 8, 2018 / 9:32 PM / 2 months ago

Armenian security service arrests ex-prime minister's brother: statement

YEREVAN (Reuters) - The brother of Armenia’s former prime minister Hovik Abrahamyan was arrested on suspicion of illegal arms procurement and possession, the security service said on Wednesday.

Jonik Abrahamyan was a member of parliament several times in the past and belongs to a wealthy and influential family, which owns several businesses in the former Soviet country of 3.2 million people.

The arrest is one in a series under Armenia’s new prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, a former opposition leader, who was elected in May after weeks of mass protests against corruption and cronyism.

The National Security Service said in a statement it had found weapons on the property of a former mechanical plant believed to have belonged to Hovik Abrahamyan, who served as prime minister from 2014 to 2016.

An Armenian court ordered former President Robert Kocharyan, who served from 1998 to 2008, detained last month on charges of usurping power and an attempt to overthrow the constitutional order during events after the 2008 elections when his ally Serzh Sarksyan became the next president.

Kocharyan has dismissed the charges as politically motivated.

A month earlier the Armenian parliament stripped general Manvel Grigoryan from the former ruling party of immunity. The parliament supported a prosecutor’s motion to open criminal proceedings against him after the National Security Service confiscated weapons and ammunition from his home.

Reporting by Hasmik Mkrtchyan, Margarita Antidze; editing by Grant McCool

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