Armenian businessman, who took hostages at a Moscow bank, says ‘had no plans to kill anyone’

A man detained for seizing a bank in downtown Moscow and taking several people hostage on Wednesday evening has told investigators he had no plans of killing anyone, TASS reports.

“During the interrogation, the detained man said he did not plan to kill anyone, but wanted to draw attention to the problem of [bankruptcy] by his actions,” senior aide of the head of the Main Investigative Department in Moscow Yulia Ivanova told TASS. On Thursday, the investigators plan “to bring charges against him and impose a pre-trial restraint.”

The 55-year-old man, later identified as Aram Petrosyan, a businessman from  Moscow region, seized the Citibank office located at 15 Bolshaya Nikitskaya Street, 800 meters from the Kremlin, at around 6.30 p.m. Moscow time (1530GMT) on Wednesday. He said he had been manufacturing first aid kits until recently before going bankrupt.

He had a box wrapped in yellow tape that he claimed was an explosive device and threatened to blow up the office. Police later said it turned out to be a fake bomb, makeshift box was filled with salt. The hostage taker demanded that the current law on personal bankruptcy be canceled and that “a personal bankruptcy institution” be established to address the problems of bankrupt businessmen. When the man entered the bank, there were six people inside: three clients, two cashiers and a security guard. By 10.00 p.m. Moscow time the perpetrator freed all hostages and surrendered to the police.

TASS Deputy Editor-in-Chief Gleb Bryansky was one of the hostages in the seized bank office. “The hostage taker did not look like a cruel criminal, but rather like a desperate person. He was very nervous, was constantly apologizing and smoking a lot,” Bryansky said.

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