YEREVAN, MOSCOW—The arrest, on Tuesday, of prominent Karabakh businessman and philanthropist Levon Hayrapetyan in Moscow could have political motivations led by Azerbaijan, according to a statement released by General Arkady Ter-Tadevosyan, commander of the Karabakh forces during the liberation of Shushi.
The 65-year-old Hayrapetian is well-known for his philanthropic efforts in Artsakh, among them the sponsorship of a mass wedding of 700 couples in Shushi in 2008, as well as his continued contribution to the enhancement of Artsakh state infrastructures.
On Tuesday, Hayrapetian was detained at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport upon arriving from what Russian media and Russian Security Service (FSB) sources claim was Monaco.
According to the Russian Rosbalt news agency, Hayrapetyan is suspected of “illegal financial dealings” in connection with alleged business dealings with a Russian oil company. The FSB has released no other information and the Armenian Embassy in Moscow is looking into the details of the detention and charges.
The FSB told Rosbalt that Hayrapetian was fingered by former Russian senator Igor Izmestiev, who is serving a life sentence since 2010 after being convicted of violent crimes, including murders related to a gang.
General Ter-Tadevosyan’s announcement calls out the Russian authorities for their corrupt dealings and said that Hayrapetian’s detention was politically motivated with the most obvious source being Azerbaijan.
He casts doubt on the FSB report saying that Hayrapetyan was in Yerevan with him before flying to Moscow, so the assertion that he was returning from Monaco is false, Ter-Tadevosyan told RFE/RL.
“The Republic of Azerbaijan is the only state in the world that is unhappy with Levon Hayrapetyan’s activities. Its leaders are furiously envious of the Armenian states’ achievements,” said Ter-Tedevosyan asserting that the Hayrapetyan’s detention was an “Azerbaijani scheme.”
Hayrapetyan’s long-term investments in Karabakh have also included the building and sponsorship of military academies in Artsakh and the education of young people there.
“I have for many years been an intimate friend with Levon Hayrapetyan and I have no doubts that the action was aimed at overshadowing Armenian-Russian friendship, the wisdom of Armenia’s membership in the Eurasian Economic Union and, to an extent, affecting the strengthening of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Armed Forces,” said Ter-Tadevosyan.
“Regrettably, some Russian structures, including the Federal Security Service, still have in their ranks dishonest people, who are ready to betray their own country’s interests for thirty silver pieces. And I am sure no one doubts that strong Armenians states located between a NATO member-state and Russia is in Russia’s interests,” added the Artsakh General who added that the Armenian people should not remain indifferent to this incident and Hayrapetyan’s fate, urging them to “raise their voices” in protest.