Ex-Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan (and General Staff chief Artak Davtyan

YEREVAN — The chief of the General Staff of the Armenian military, General Artak Davtyan, former Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan, and several other officials went on trial on January 19 on fraud and embezzlement charges related to purchases of faulty weaponry and ammunition for the armed forces.

The defendants also include businessman David Galstyan, who owns several firms that have supplied weapons and ammunition to the military for many years.

The National Security Service arrested Tonoyan, Galstyan, and two other senior defense officials in September for allegedly defrauding the state of some $4.7 million.

The case involves the purchase of thousands of air-to-surface missiles that a company owned by Galstyan delivered to Armenia’s military in 2011.

The Defense Ministry initially refused to buy most of them at the time, saying that they were faulty and unusable. But the ministry went ahead with the purchase after Tonoyan became defense minister in 2018.

Investigators claim that Tonoyan and the two other officials arranged the deal for personal gain. The defendants deny the charges. Tonoyan served as defense minister until 2020.

Prosecutors revealed last week that Davtyan was also charged with abuse of office as part of the criminal case. Davtyan has not been dismissed from his post despite the indictment.

Davtyan was absent from the opening session of the high-profile trial.

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