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Armenia ex-leader charged with economic crimes

AFP  |  Yerevan 

Former Armenian president Serzh Sarkisian, who was ousted from power by a popular uprising last year, was on Wednesday formally charged with economic crimes, authorities said.

Armenia's president between 2008 and 2018, Sarkisian has been charged with organising the misuse and embezzlement by government officials of 489 million drams (USD 1 million), the Special Investigation Service said in a statement.

The 65-year-old former leader has been banned from leaving Armenia, the statement added.

A peaceful uprising against Sarkisian's rule erupted in April, 2018 after he tried to remain in power by switching to the role of prime minister after serving as president for a decade.

The move proved the last straw for Armenians, who had long been frustrated with the ex-Soviet country's sluggish economy, poverty, and corruption.

Spearheaded by hugely popular opposition MP Nikol Pashinyan, weeks of street protests led to Sarkisian's resignation and the demise of his ruling party.

Pashinyan was elected prime minister in the wake of the protests.

In May, Sarkisian's jailed predecessor, Robert Kocharyan, went on trial over what prosecutors described as a coup that led to bloody protests in 2008.

He insists the case against him is politically motivated.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, December 04 2019. 21:50 IST