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Armenia’s Economy Minister resigns amidst corruption allegations

15 February 2024
Vahan Kerobyan. Official photo.

Armenia’s Economy Minister Vahan Kerobyan has submitted his resignation following the launch of a corruption investigation in his ministry.

Kerobyan announced he would be stepping down as minister in a post on Facebook on Wednesday, without clarifying further.

‘During these three-plus years, I have worked with unwavering devotion, filled with love for every citizen of Armenia’, he said, going on to list achievements made during his tenure.

Kerobyan was appointed minister in November 2020, shortly after Armenia’s defeat in the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War.

‘During this period, because of many disagreements, I wanted to leave this job many times, but I subordinated myself to maximise the value of my service to my country’, he said.

Kerobyan also thanked Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan for providing him the ‘opportunity to serve my country’.

Although Kerobyan did not reveal why he was stepping down, his resignation came less than a month after deputy economy minister Ani Ispiryan was placed under house arrest as part of an investigation into corruption in the ministry. 

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The authorities have detained six others since.

On Thursday, Kerobyan was reported to have been summoned by Armenia’s Investigative Committee and the National Security Services. Questioned outside the Investigative Committee building on Thursday, Kerobyan told RFE/RL he had not yet been charged or questioned.

At the time of Ispiryan’s arrest, the Investigative Committee stated they had searched 15 locations in both the ministry and a number of personal homes in relation to two criminal cases.

The committee stated that officials from the ministry had abused their official powers.

Kerobyan has criticised the arrests, stating last week in a government session that people ‘who did not steal are being punished’, and that the arrests ‘paralyse’ the ministry’s work.

‘Our agricultural departments are asking: well, how can we continue working and be sure that our honest work will not be punished in the end?’ said Kerobyan.

Read in Georgian on On.ge.