STEPANAKERT—674 couples who were married in a mass wedding in Artsakh, sponsored by businessman and philanthropist Levon Hayrapetian, have appealed to Russian authorities, demanding the release of Hayrapetian, who was arrested on July 15 in Moscow. The couples say they hope that Russian law enforcement will take an objective approach to the case, in which case they are confident that Hayrapetian will be proven innocent.
“We, the 674 couples of a mass wedding organized by Levon Hayrapetyan in 2008, consider invaluable the great benefactor’s contribution to the development of Artsakh, displayed by both sponsoring us and our children, and many other major projects,” The statement from the group read.
“Thanks to Hayrapetian’s sponsorship of the mass wedding, hundreds of families were formed in Artsakh, and in the six years’ time, around 1,200 children have been born. Being well aware of Levon Hayrapetian’s high human values, we are convinced that the accusations against him are groundless. We hope that the Russian law enforcement bodies will display an objective approach, in the result of which the great benefactor’s innocence will be proven. Considering the investigation process and revelation of truth as a matter of time, at this stage we demand that the preliminary investigation body should immediately release Levon Hayrapetian from custody. Once released, in addition to providing assistance to the preliminary investigation, he will have the opportunity to improve his health condition, about which we are most concerned,” reads the statement.
Hayrapetian, 65, was arrested by Russian Federal Security Service officials on July 15. Last Thursday, a Moscow court allowed the businessman’s two-month imprisonment while investigators conduct a probe into his alleged criminal connections and involvement in some illegal financial dealings. Official charges against Hayrapetian are expected to be brought on July 24.
Hayrapetian is considered to be one of the wealthiest Armenians in the world. He is known to have invested millions of dollars into developing Nagorno-Karabakh’s infrastructure and renovating the area’s historical-cultural monuments. His charity included a mass wedding for hundreds of Karabakh couples in 2008 and sponsorship of the construction of a military college in Martakert.