Armenia's second President Robert Kocharyan has commented on the National Assembly's decision to strip former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian of his parliamentary immunity.
"After getting acquainted with the ‘case' material, I could not find the answer to the key question: why should the National Security Service, Prosecutor General's Office and National Assembly take interest in the good relations between John Huntsman,Vartan Oskanian and his Civilitas Foundation?" said Mr Kocharyan.
"With its move, the National Assembly overtly discredited itself, incurring negative consequences on the country's image. This is not what Armenia needs today. Vartan Oskanian has been one of the most successful ministers and political figures who were able to stand the trial of the authorities.
Oskanian has always been honest and effective, fair and veracious. This is a rare quality in our political reality. People having such unique merits and qualities should be appreciated and cherished, rather than persecuted, even for the sake of one's own reputation. Moreover, Oskanian is affiliated with a party that has a serious electorate. The absurdity of the entire story is disappointing. I am sorry for what has happened and express my sympathy and support to Oskanian," said the ex-president.
Vartan. Oskanian and his Civilitas Foundation are accused of failing to report US$2 million donations received from the sale of 100% shares of Huntsman Building Products, LLC JSC owned by the U.S.-based Polymer Materials and Huntsman International corporations, and for misusing important portions of the funds donated for charitable purposes. The National Security Service (NSS) press service launched on May 25 criminal proceedings against Oskanian and his Civilitas Foundation for "money laundering based on Article 190 Para 3.1 of the Criminal Code of Armenia."
On September 2, the Armenian National Assembly upheld Prosecutor General's petition strip Vartan Oskanian from his parliamentary immunity with a 64/6 vote.