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YEREVAN. – The Yerevan court of first instance today denied the defense's motion to recuse Arsen Martirosyan, the prosecutor in the criminal case against Armenia’s third President Serzh Sargsyan and several others.

Only former Minister of Agriculture Sergo Karapetyan, who is a defendant in the case, was present at the issuing of this decision.

As reported earlier, at the trial of the criminal case against Serzh Sargsyan and four others, which started yesterday at the court of first instance of Avan and Nor Nork administrative districts of Yerevan, defendant Sargsyan’s lawyer Ruben Hakobyan had motioned for the recusal of Arsen Martirosyan, the prosecutor in this criminal case.

Hakobyan had noted that the investigation into this case was conducted with a number of violations and omissions, but the overseeing prosecutor not only did not respond to them, but also allowed himself to violate fair trial, presumption of innocence, and carry out some other violations.

The attorney had also emphasized that the Special Investigation Service investigator was convinced as to what the person summoned for face-to-face meeting would testify, the charge against Sargsyan was unlawful, and the defense was not provided with all the material in this case.

The prosecuting prosecutor had objected to the motion, stressing that attorney Hakobyan submitted abstract judgments that do not stem from criminal procedural laws.

The first court hearing on the criminal case against Serzh Sargsyan, former Minister of Agriculture Sergo Karapetyan, owner of Flash company Barsegh Beglaryan, former Deputy Minister of Agriculture Samvel Galstyan, and former head of the Ministry's Department of Crop Production Gevorg Harutyunyan kicked off yesterday.

They are charged under the Criminal Code article on organizing, inciting and assisting large-scale appropriation or squander, whereas former Minister of Agriculture Sergo Karapetyan—under the article on large-scale appropriation or squander. 

During the investigation of the criminal case being investigated at the Special Investigation Service of Armenia, it was found out that with the organization of third president Serzh Sargsyan, the impelling of the owner of Flesh company Barsegh Beglaryan, with the assistance of former deputy minister of agriculture Samvel Galstyan and head of the Agriculture Ministry’s Department of Crop Production Gevorg Harutyunyan, former Minister of Agriculture Sergo Karapetyan misused—from January 25 to February 7, 2013—the government reserve fund for state support the subsidy of 489,160,310 drams allocated for the 15,391,765 liters of diesel fuel that was sold during the implementation of assistance programs.

Serzh Sargsyan does not accept the charge against him. His lawyer Amram Makinyan argues that the charge is concocted. According to press reports, Sergo Karapetyan's testimony is on the bases of this accusation. He and Serzh Sargsyan have been confronted.

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