MOSCOW — Levon Hayrapetian, an affluent Armenian businessman based in Russia, has been held for questioning and arrested over alleged connections with a criminal gang, Russian media reported on Wednesday.
According to the Rosbalt news agency, Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) officers arrested Hayrapetian at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport on July 15 as the entrepreneur was returning to the Russian capital from Monaco.
Hayrapetian, a 65-year-old native of Nagorno-Karabakh known for his investments and charity projects in Artsakh, including a grand wedding for 700 couples there in 2008, is believed to be one of the wealthiest Armenian businessmen in the world.
The Russian law-enforcement agencies suspect him of having ties with the organized criminal group led by Sergey Finagin, a notorious Russian crime figure. According to a Rosbalt news agency report citing sources at Russia’s special services, FSB officials acted on the testimony given against Hayrapetian by former Russian senator from Bashkortostan Igor Izmestiev, who is serving a life prison term after being convicted in 2010 of violent crimes, including murders and terrorism, in a trial alongside a dozen members of the Kingisepp gang.
The gang that the Armenian businessman is suspected of having ties with is said to have committed more than a dozen contract killings and attempted assassinations over the past decade.
Hayrapetian, who is reportedly suspected of ‘illegal financial machinations’ in a deal concerning an oil company, may be formally charged and remanded in custody in the next few days. No official report on the matter is available yet and other details of the investigation also remain unclear.