Armenia's ex-president Sargsyan stands trial on graft charges

Tue 25 Feb 2020 08:13 GMT | 12:13 Local Time

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Former Armenian president Serzh Sargsyan on Tuesday goes on trial charged with corruption, nearly two years after he was ousted from power by a popular uprising following a decade in office, AFP reported.

Sargsyan, who dominated Armenia in two consecutive terms as president from 2008, resigned in 2018 when his plan to stay in power by taking the post of prime minister sparked mass protests led by journalist-turned-politician Nikol Pashinyan.

Sargsyan initially adopted a low profile in the months after his resignation. But over the last year he has reemerged and harshly criticised Pashinyan, who succeeded him as premier.

The 65-year-old former military officer was charged in December with organising an embezzlement scheme that allegedly helped enrich government officials.

He was banned from leaving the country and if convicted could face up to eight years in jail.

Prosecutors have said that in 2013 Sargsyan helped to organise a scheme for a private company to supply diesel fuel for the government's agricultural assistance programme at a deliberately inflated price.

The surplus of 489 million drams ($1 million) was then pocketed by the officials and businessmen involved in the scheme, prosecutors have said.

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