YEREVAN, June 22. /ARKA/. The 2 billion dram ($4.1 million) bail for the release of ex-president of Armenia Robert Kocharyan from pre-trial detention was posted by Russian businessmen, the Russian RBC said citing a source close to Kocharyan. The news was confirmed by Viktor Soghomonyan, the head of Kocharyan’s office.
According to him, the bulk of the bail was posted by Samvel Karapetyan (Tashir group of companies), Sergey Hambartsumyan (Monarch group of companies) and Gennady Stepanyan (Russian businessman and philanthropist). All are Russia-based businessmen of Armenian descent. The rest of the amount was provided by Russian AFK Sistema that has Kocharyan on board an independent director since 2009.
Viktor Soghomonyan noted that the main shareholder of AFK Sistema Vladimir Yevtushenkov did not personally contribute money; part of the bail was posted by the company as a legal entity.
On June 18, Armenia’s Criminal Court of Appeal, chaired by judge Arsen Nikoghosyan, endorsed an appeal by ex-president Robert Kocharyan’s defense lawyers to release their client on 2 billion dram bail pending the verdict in the case.
Robert Kocharyan 65, as well as former chief of staff of Armenia’s armed forces Yuri Khachaturov, former defense minister Seyran Ohanyan and the chief of Kocharyan’s staff Armen Gevorkyan are charged with toppling constitutional order in 2008 March.
The ex-president, who ruled Armenia from 1998-2008, was also charged with bribe-taking a year ago. He rejects all accusations as politically motivated.
Anna Danibekyan, a judge presiding over the high-profile trial, has repeatedly refused to free Kocharyan on bail pending a verdict in the case.
The case dates back to late February and early March 2008 following the disputed presidential election, when then prime minister Serzh Sargsyan was declared the winner, angering the opposition, led by the first Armenian president Levon Ter-Petrosyan who set off 10 days of nonstop protests that led to a crackdown on March 1, in which 10 people were killed and more than 200 injured.