Armenia’s Deputy Minister of Economy, Ani Ispiryan, has reportedly been detained as part of an investigation into corruption in the ministry.
The Economy Ministry announced on Wednesday that an investigation was underway in the ministry.
‘We consider the fight against corruption extremely important, at the same time we are guided by the presumption of innocence,’ the message stated.
Armenian media began to claim that Ispiryan and other employees of the ministry had been arrested on Wednesday afternoon.
The Minister of Economy’s spokesperson soon after confirmed that Ispiryan had been ‘taken’ by law enforcement officers, but did not clarify the conditions of or reason for her detention.
A day earlier, Ispiryan was dismissed from her position in a decision from Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.
Gor Abrahamyan, the spokesperson of Armenia’s Investigative Committee, neither confirmed nor denied that the former deputy minister had been arrested, when speaking to RFE/RL.
He stated, however, that searches had been launched in 15 locations in both the Ministry of Economy and a number of personal homes in relation to two criminal cases.
‘Urgent investigative and other large-scale judicial actions are being carried out by investigators of the Investigative Committee and employees of the National Security Service,’ stated Abrahamyan.
Minister of Economy, Vahan Kerobyan, told journalists that he was not aware of the reasons for the search, but stated that investigative bodies usually entered state administration bodies in relation to cases of corruption.
However, Kerobyan suggested that Ispiryan’s dismissal was unconnected to the investigation.
‘Ani said a month and a half ago that her husband got a job in Holland, they are going to move and she submitted her resignation a few days before moving,’ said Kerobyan.