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Azerbaijan Accuses Philanthropist & Artsakh Official, Ruben Vardanyan, of 'Financing Terrorism'

Azerbaijan Accuses Philanthropist & Artsakh Official, Ruben Vardanyan, of 'Financing Terrorism'

Azerbaijani authorities have officially charged Ruben Vardanyan, the former Minister of State of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), with allegations related to financing terrorism. The State Security Service of Azerbaijan issued a statement outlining the charges as follows:

"Based on gathered evidence, strong suspicions have been established against Ruben Vardanyan, born in 1968 and currently a citizen of the Republic of Armenia. These suspicions are in connection with criminal activities defined under Articles 214-1, 279.3, and 318.1 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

The indictment against him states that Ruben Vardanyan, as a foreign citizen, illegally crossed the state border of the Republic of Azerbaijan in September 2022 outside of designated checkpoints with the intention to commit acts of terrorism and sabotage. He entered the temporary residence of Russian peacekeepers in the Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) economic region of the Republic of Azerbaijan. While there, he acquired weapons, ammunition, and explosives from illegal military units that had entered the territory. Vardanyan also organized and led armed units, which were not sanctioned by Azerbaijani legislation. Additionally, he conducted raids on offices, organizations, and individuals, resulting in fatalities and other severe consequences. Furthermore, he was involved in the procurement of items, military equipment, and military supplies for these unauthorized armed units.

Moreover, Ruben Vardanyan is accused of financing terrorism by channeling funds towards the terrorist activities of these illegal armed groups. On September 27, 2023, Vardanyan was apprehended for his alleged illegal actions. He has been formally charged and subjected to pretrial detention by court order. The investigative and operational measures within the criminal case are currently ongoing."

Russian Armenian businessman, philanthropist, and former Minister of State of Artsakh, Ruben Vardanyan, was detained by Azerbaijani authorities on Wednesday at the Lachin corridor.

[Continue Reading] Vardanyan, a distinguished philanthropist, has made substantial contributions across various humanitarian domains. His philanthropic journey encompasses support for culture and the arts through his involvement with the Pushkin Museum council, Russian National Orchestra, and The American Russian Youth Orchestra. In the realm of education and business, Vardanyan co-founded Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO. In Armenia, he co-initiated the Armenia 2020 project and founded UWC Dilijan College, an international boarding school. His commitment to heritage preservation is showcased in initiatives such as the Tatev Revival Project and the restoration of historic churches. Vardanyan's philanthropy is a force for positive change, exemplified by his co-founding of the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity, recognizing individuals who exhibit remarkable courage and compassion. His multifaceted contributions highlight the transformative impact of dedicated philanthropy on society and humanity as a whole.

Vardanyan’s illegal abduction by Azerbaijan is being condemned by various international figures and organizations.

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