YEREVAN — Armenia’s ex-president Robert Kocharyan may spend from 7 to 12 years behind bars if fouand guilty of accepting a large bribe from a woman entrepreneur Silva Hambardzumyan back in 2008.

According to the prosecutors’ indictment, Kocharyan is accused of using his official position to assist businesswoman Silva Hambartzumyan while he was president. In February-May 2008, with a close ally Samvel Mayrapetyan’s support, Kocharyan received a particularly large bribe of AMD 927 million, equivalent to $3mln from Hambardzumyan.

Former Armenian Deputy Prime Minister Armen Gevorgyan is accused of receiving a particularly large bribe of AMD 309 million, which is equivalent to $1 million from Silva Hambardzumyan.

Robert Kocharyan’s lawyer Hayk Alumyan said that the indictment was not clear and asked for a 20-minute break to show which points of the indictment are unclear. Alumyan expressed confidence that the court would come to the same conclusion.

As previously reported, Silva Hambardzumyan told the investigation that in 2008 she bribed people close to Robert Kocharyan, Serzh Sargsyan and Armen Gevorgyan (former head of presidential administration) giving them $7 million. Hambardzumyan stated that she tried to avoid interference of the authorities in her businesses.

In another criminal case involving Robert Kocharyan, a first instance court in Yerevan ruled last April to terminate his criminal prosecution as well as three other defendants under Article 300.1 of the Criminal Code. They all were charged with overthrowing the constitutional order.

Late in March 2021 Armenia’s Constitutional Court ruled that Article 300.1 of the Criminal Code that was used to prosecute Kocharyan for “overthrowing the constitutional order” runs counter to articles 78 and 79 of the Constitution.

Kocharyan’s case dated 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, that was 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.

Kocharyan, as well as his chief of staff Armen Gevorgyan, former chief of army’s staff General Yuri Khachaturov and former minister of defense Seyran Ohanyan were charged with usurping state power during the March 1, 2008 post-election protests.

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