Prominent Armenian businessman gets 4 years in prison

Moscow’s Zamoskvoretsky District Court on Thursday sentenced prominent Armenian businessman Levon Hayrapetyan to 4 years in prison for embezzlement of $700,000, RAPSI reports from the courtroom.

Hayrapetyan was found guilty of stealing $700,000 from the mother of former Bashkortostan senator Igor Izmestyev sentenced to life for terrorism.

According to investigators, the businessman has misled the woman by promising a reduced sentence for her son. In practice, he could not influence the judgment.

A prosecutor earlier asked the court to sentence Hayrapetyan to 7 years in jail and to collect from him 20.8 million rubles ($316,000) in damages in favor of the victims.

The businessman has pleaded not guilty. According to his lawyer, the case has been framed up.

Hayrapetyan also stands charged with involvement in an embezzlement case under which Ural Rakhimov, son of the former head of Bashkortostan Murtaza Rakhimov, sold Bashneft, a midsized oil company he headed for three years, to the oil-to-telecoms conglomerate Sistema in 2009 at a huge “discount” of $500 million.

Airapetyan holds dual citizenship, has assets abroad and was until recently living in Monaco. Prosecutors presented this information as grounds for arrest. In early October 2014, Airapetyan was placed under house arrest. His defense attorney asked the court to release him, citing health problems.

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